The head coach of the U.S. men’s national team at the recent FIFA World Cup is out of contract and his future is increasingly unclear after a saga that has unfolded involving Berhalter, the parents of current USMNT player Gio Reyna, and a report of domestic violence that is currently the subject of an investigation.
According to multiple reports, Berhalter’s treatment of current USMNT winger Gio Reyna during and after the World Cup, where the player saw limited playing time, prompted Reyna’s parents — Claudio Reyna, who was a teammate of Berhalter’s with the USA, and Danielle Reyna, a former teammate of Berhalter’s wife at the University of North Carolina — to take issue with USMNT hierarchy and ultimately report a 1991 domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and his current wife.
U.S. Soccer has opened its own investigation into the incident, while it is still in the midst of making a final assessment of the 2022 World Cup performance and deciding on Berhalter’s future at the helm of the team.
The Sporting News breaks down all the aspects of this story, and how it may affect Berhalter’s standing as U.S. men’s head coach heading into the 2026 World Cup cycle.
MORE: Who is USA World Cup manager Gregg Berhalter?
Gregg Berhalter allegations, investigation details
On January 3, U.S. Soccer and Gregg Berhalter each released a separate statement regarding a domestic violence incident from 1991 between Berhalter and his current wife Rosalind.
U.S. Soccer’s statement revealed that an investigation had been opened into an allegation of domestic violence brought to the federation’s attention. The statement confirmed that a law firm was retained to conduct the investigation.
The statement made mention that the federation also “learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization.”
Statement from U.S. Soccer: pic.twitter.com/h2x5rgZvWA
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) January 3, 2023
Berhalter’s statement, released at the same time as the one from U.S. Soccer, revealed the details of the incident, which occurred prior to their marriage when the pair were dating. His statement revealed that while out at a bar, Berhalter kicked Rosalind during an argument.
Berhalter stated that the authorities were never involved, and the two put the incident behind them when they married in 1997.
— Gregg Berhalter (@GreggBerhalter_) January 3, 2023
In the statement, Berhalter called Rosalind his “soulmate” and stated there are “zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day.” He says he sought counseling following the incident and that it led to seven months of no contact between the two.
“I am sharing this story after 31 years because it’s important to understand it was an event that shaped me, but doesn’t define me.”
Like U.S. Soccer’s release, Berhalter’s statement also mentioned that “an individual contacted U.S. Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would ‘take me down’ — an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer.”
Danielle Reyna reports Berhalter domestic violence incident
The day after the release of U.S. Soccer’s and Gregg Berhalter’s statements about the domestic violence incident, Fox Soccer and ESPN reported that the previously unnamed individual who contacted U.S. Soccer about it was Danielle Reyna, wife of Claudio Reyna and mother of U.S. teen star Gio Reyna.
Danielle Reyna was a teammate of Rosalind Berhalter when the two played at the University of North Carolina. Claudio Reyna played with Gregg Berhalter on the U.S. men’s national team beginning in the 1990s.
In statements released to Fox Soccer and The Athletic, Danielle Reyna confirmed she shared the incident with U.S. Soccer, stating that the treatment of their son, Gio Reyna, during and after the World Cup by Berhalter was the impetus for her decision to contact the federation.
“To set the record straight, I did call (U.S. Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference,” Danielle Reyna said in the statement. “I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades.”
Danielle Reyna’s statement on the entire situation.
(via @PaulTenorio, @TheAthletic) pic.twitter.com/Wt6PiMinRI
— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) January 4, 2023
Claudio Reyna followed up by supporting his wife in a separate statement, saying, “I too was upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the U.S. was out of the World Cup, and I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on December 11 asking him to prevent any additional comments.”
However, both Danielle and Claudio Reyna denied issuing any threats prior to reporting the incident. “At no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so,” Claudio wrote in his statement.
However, ESPN cited sources in reporting that Claudio Reyna, currently serving as the sporting director of MLS club Austin FC, “threatened to share allegations about Berhalter’s past, but Reyna has denied those allegations.”
Claudio Reyna’s statement: pic.twitter.com/HYu2S9XNlE
— Doug McIntyre (@ByDougMcIntyre) January 4, 2023
Why Gregg Berhalter nearly sent home Gio Reyna at World Cup
As indicated in the statements by Danielle and Claudio Reyna, the events that took place during the 2022 World Cup involving their son Gio prompted their response.
Gio Reyna received only limited playing time and it became a major talking point as the United States progressed to the Round of 16 in Qatar, ultimately falling 3-1 to the Netherlands at that stage.
The 20-year-old is an electric player who has established himself as a regular starter at German club Borussia Dortmund, and his absence from the field was notable. Throughout the tournament, Berhalter downplayed the situation, even going so far as to suggest that Gio was injured, which the player swiftly denied, creating added tension.
Following the World Cup, Berhalter stated publicly, while speaking at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership in New York, that Reyna was nearly sent home from the tournament for failing to give complete effort in training. He mentioned that the player was called out in front of his teammates, was asked to apologize, and did so, allowing him to remain with the team in Qatar.
While Berhalter did not mention Gio Reyna’s name specifically, instead simply saying “a player,” Reyna confirmed he was the subject of the comments in an Instagram post shortly after Berhalter’s comments went public.
In his Instagram post, Gio Reyna revealed that he was told by Berhalter before the tournament that he would have a limited role and he expressed frustration with Berhalter’s public airing of a situation he expected to “remain private.”
DECOURCY: Assessing how Berhalter handled the Gio Reyna situation
Who is Danielle Reyna? Who is Rosalind Berhalter?
While USMNT fans will remember Gregg Berhalter and Claudio Reyna playing side by side for the senior men’s team, including at a World Cup, both their wives have also known each other for some time.
Danielle Reyna and Rosalind Berhalter were former teammates at UNC from 1991-94. They won multiple national titles as a part of that team, a dynasty that included the likes of USWNT legend Mia Hamm and Tisha Venturini.
The two were close enough that they were roommates, and Danielle Reyna in her statement even claimed that Rosalind was her “best friend.” Danielle said that she “supported her [Rosalind] in the trauma that followed” the domestic violence incident involving Gregg Berhalter.
“It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward,” Danielle Reyna’s statement said, “but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life.
“I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard.”
Gregg Berhalter contract with USMNT
Another element to this story is the current contract status of Gregg Berhalter as head coach of the U.S. National Team. ESPN reported that Berhalter was in talks to extend his contract with the USMNT up until December 11, when the Reyna family contacted U.S. Soccer about the domestic violence incident. Extension talks were since put on hold.
ESPN reporting here that Berhalter was in talks to extend his contract with USMNT until Dec 11 when the Reynas contacted US Soccer. They have put that on hold.
Berhalter’s current contract expired at the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Head coaches of national federations often structure their contracts around major international tournaments, with teams allowing themselves the flexibility to make changes following the conclusion of those tournaments.
The U.S. federation and Gregg Berhalter are both now deciding whether to extend their relationship or go their separate ways.
It is not a one-way decision. While U.S. Soccer decides whether it wishes to retain Berhalter as head coach, Berhalter is also deciding what he wants for his own career.
An ESPN report in early December following the USMNT’s elimination from the World Cup stated that Berhalter has offers from clubs in Europe and is deciding whether to continue as national team head coach or whether to step back into club football.
The decision on whether to extend Berhalter a contract offer or to move in a different direction is a massive one for U.S. Soccer. The 2026 World Cup is set to be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, meaning that the expanded edition of the tournament will bring the game’s biggest tournament to home soil. Hiring the right head coach to lead the federation into that tournament will be of critical importance to ensure the USA puts its best foot forward with all eyes on the Americans.
On January 4, just minutes before reports of the Berhalter and Reyna situation were published, U.S. Soccer confirmed that Gregg Berhalter would not take charge of the USMNT January camp, which concludes with friendlies against Serbia and Colombia. Instead, the camp will be led by Berhalter’s assistant Anthony Hudson.
This tracks with reports from the previous day by numerous media members that Berhalter would not lead the camp, and instead it would be conducted by one of his assistants.
Berhalter’s absence from January camp does not preclude him from being retained long-term as U.S. Soccer head coach, according to a report by Men In Blazers host Roger Bennett.
Stewart asked about his conversation with Danielle Reyna & process of investigation: “The investigation is still ongoing.”
“Until the investigation & review takes place, Gregg Berhalter is still in consideration to lead our #USMNT.”
— Kyle Bonn (@the_bonnfire) January 4, 2023
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