Former US national men’s team soccer coach Gregg Berhalter has expressed “sadness” over revelations that he kicked his future wife in 1991 and the subsequent allegations of blackmail that that came as his contract ended.
The USMNT named Anthony Hudson as its temporary head coach for upcoming January camp and friendlies after Berhalter’s contract expired at the end of 2022.
The team announced at the end of 2022, its "full review of the USMNT program following the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup" was still underway.
Berhalter led the team to the World Cup 2022, where it ultimately lost to the Netherlands in the round of 16.
The coaching change occurred during a tumultuous time in Berhalter’s personal life after CNN reported that he was forced to admit to "kicking his wife" in 1991. Berhalter reportedly made the admission to stave off "blackmail" messages from former USA captain Claudio Reyna and his wife, Danielle, who were allegedly retaliating against him for stating their son Gio, would have a limited role in the Qatar games.
Speaking to the Harvard Business Review on Thursday in his first interview about the developments, Berhalter said: “I think it’s sadness. Our entire family is saddened by these events. It’s something we wanna move forward from. The worst part of it for me is my heart aches for my wife. It was her story to tell.”
Earlier he had discussed the domestic violence incident and alleged blackmail plot in a lengthy message posted to his personal Twitter account.
‘[...] 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," he wrote in the statement. "It was a single, isolated event over three decades ago and a terrible decision made in a bad moment by an 18-year-old. Rosalind and I have been on an amazing journey together."
Ms Reyna claimed that while she did alert US Soccer to the alleged domestic violence, she did not make any threats to Berhalter, according to ESPN.
"To set the record straight, I did call [US 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," she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Berhalter said he was considering sending a player home who “was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field” during the conference. That player was later revealed to be the younger Reyna, according to MLBSoccer.com’s Tom Bogert.
"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," Ms Reyna said.
She went on to claim that the statement Berhalter made "significantly minimize(s) the abuse on the night in question," and said the coach’s wife, Rosalind, was her roomate, teammate, and best friend.
Reyna also denied sending any threatening messages, according to ESPN.
“While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them. However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so,” he said in a statement.
US Soccer is investigating the incident through a third party and evaluating Mr Berhalter’s performance during the World Cup 2022.