USMNT’s future amid Claudio Reyna bullying report


The findings of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s investigation into the home violence incident involving former U.S. males’s nationwide crew supervisor Gregg Berhalter and his spouse Rosalind — in addition to the conduct of Claudio and Danielle Reyna because it associated to the World Cup taking part in time of their son, Gio Reyna — had been launched on Monday.

The investigation and its report, performed by an impartial legislation agency, corroborated a lot of the earlier reporting completed by ESPN and elsewhere by way of what typically transpired between the Reynas and the Berhalters. But it additionally added further particulars demonstrating the lengths to which the Reynas went in an effort to affect how decision-makers at U.S. Soccer ought to deal with their son, together with allegations of “bullying,” and sheds new mild on the federation’s insular tradition.

Here’s a deeper take a look at how this saga performed out, what the investigation discovered and what it means for these concerned.

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How did U.S. Soccer, Berhalter and the Reynas attain a degree the place an investigation was vital?

This Shakespearean story is about a number of issues — friendships ruined, a household’s ambitions for his or her son, an admitted incident of home violence — nevertheless it got here aside because of the most simple of soccer facets: taking part in time, or an absence thereof.

It began with U.S. nationwide crew midfielder Gio Reyna enduring an injury-plagued 2021-22 season and Gregg Berhalter’s issues about Reyna’s health, which led the coach to cut back him to a substitute’s position for the World Cup. Reyna sulked in consequence, coasting by way of practices, a lot in order that Berhalter almost despatched him house till an intervention.

While there was appreciable debate over Reyna’s position amongst followers and pundits, the story was almost out of oxygen till Berhalter revealed the incident throughout a talking engagement at a management convention lower than two weeks after the U.S. was knocked out of the World Cup. Berhalter did not title names, however hypothesis instantly pointed to Reyna.

That drew the wrath of the Reyna household. Claudio and Danielle Reyna had been already incensed over their son’s lack of taking part in time, and had made robust hints that there was one thing in Berhalter’s previous that will forestall him from being retained by U.S. Soccer because the crew’s head coach.

After demanding a dialog with U.S. Soccer’s then-sporting director Earnie Stewart, Danielle Reyna divulged that Berhalter had dedicated an act of home violence in opposition to his now spouse Rosalind in 1992. During their freshman yr on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the Berhalters acquired into an argument exterior a bar after Rosalind was seen dancing with one other student-athlete. Rosalind hit Gregg within the face, after which Gregg pushed her down and kicked her twice. At that time a bystander tackled Gregg, ending the altercation. Police weren’t notified.

Stewart, following federation coverage, advised U.S. Soccer’s attorneys concerning the allegation. The federation then employed the legislation agency Alston & Bird to analyze.

Meanwhile, Berhalter publicly admitted to the incident. His contract as U.S. males’s nationwide crew supervisor expired Dec. 31, 2022.

What new particulars did the investigation discover, and what conclusions did it attain concerning the conduct of Berhalter and the Reynas?

For the Berhalters, the investigation corroborated their model of occasions, together with that the home violence incident did happen. The investigation additionally confirmed that after the incident, Gregg Berhalter sought counseling in addition to neighborhood work in a bid to make amends. He and Rosalind later reconciled, acquired married and now have 4 youngsters collectively.

The investigation additionally concluded that Berhalter did not violate any legal guidelines or U.S. Soccer insurance policies in not disclosing the incident. Since there was no police report, it wasn’t one thing that will have popped up on a background verify, nor would he have been requested throughout the interview course of about such an incident.

For these causes, Berhalter is now free to be employed once more by U.S. Soccer and stays a candidate to as soon as once more tackle the position as U.S. males’s nationwide crew supervisor.

As for the Reynas, the report confirmed they pressured U.S. Soccer officers and coaches about taking part in time for his or her son, however the investigation discovered the Reynas had been doing this for a number of years, which included complaining to a coach on the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup about Gio Reyna’s taking part in time. The report additionally revealed how far the Reynas had been prepared to go, with one staffer characterizing Claudio Reyna’s interactions as “inappropriate,” “bullying” and “mean-spirited.”

At the final World Cup, Claudio Reyna texted Earnie Stewart about Gio’s lack of taking part in time in opposition to Wales to say, “What a complete and utter f—ing joke. Our family is disgusted in case you are wondering. Disgusted at how a coach is allowed to never be challenged and do whatever he wants.”

The report discovered that each Claudio and Danielle Reyna made veiled threats to U.S. Soccer officers that there was one thing in Berhalter’s previous that will forestall him from persevering with because the crew’s supervisor. Danielle advised a federation staffer, “Once this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and give one interview, and his cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”

Claudio Reyna advised Brian McBride, then-GM of the lads’s nationwide crew: “You guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg.”

So, what does this imply for Gregg Berhalter and his future at U.S. Soccer?

Officially it means there isn’t a cause he cannot be employed by U.S. Soccer once more because the federation is in search of a head coach after Berhalter’s contract expired on the finish of final yr. An argument may be made that his file warrants it, reaching the World Cup knockout phases and profitable a pair of continental titles — the Gold Cup and the Nations League, each in 2021– at Mexico’s expense.

But that’s removed from assured, and there are a number of explanation why that will not happen.

There is a way that 4 years is as lengthy a tenure that nationwide crew supervisor ought to have earlier than their message will get stale they usually turn into much less efficient, although there are exceptions. Another lingering concern is how a lot harm did Berhalter do by way of the belief of the U.S. males’s nationwide crew locker room following his veiled disclosure of Gio Reyna’s conduct on the World Cup.

Yet the largest cause of all is the home violence problem. Yes, it was from 31 years in the past. Yes, the investigation concluded that it was certainly a one-off, and never one thing that Berhalter repeated. But it did occur, and given how U.S. Soccer has dealt with abuse allegations up to now — or not dealt with them — the federation could resolve that it is simply simpler to maneuver on, and rent somebody new. Federation officers, nevertheless, have insisted that hiring a head coach is a call that will not be made till a brand new sporting director is employed to switch Earnie Stewart, who left in January for a brand new job, they usually hope to announce a coach by September.

Will Berhalter work in soccer once more? Given that he was cleared of wrongdoing right here, he will certainly have choices. But it’d profit him to get far from the U.S. program, whether or not that is by taking a job abroad, and even in MLS. If he had been to be rehired by U.S. Soccer, the heaviness of what has occurred within the final six months would nonetheless be there. With the U.S. co-hosting the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, that’s one thing the federation could resolve it may do with out.

And what does this imply for the Reynas?

For Gio Reyna, the previous six months will weigh on him.

Granted, a few of what occurred is his fault. His perspective ought to have been means higher, and it should not have taken an intervention to vary it. But he was a bystander by way of every thing that occurred after the World Cup and what his dad and mom did. None of that’s his fault.

That mentioned, given the questions that may come up at his subsequent U.S. camp, Gio could resolve he isn’t prepared to participate within the worldwide window on the finish of the month, when the U.S. face Grenada and El Salvador within the CONCACAF Nations League. But U.S. Soccer clearly desires him within the fold. Interim U.S. males’s nationwide crew supervisor Anthony Hudson has already taken a visit to Germany the place Gio performs for Borussia Dortmund in a bid to clean over any exhausting emotions. The sooner that Gio returns, the faster he can transfer on.

As for his dad and mom, the excellent news is that the investigation concluded that they did not commit blackmail or extortion. But that is about it.

This whole episode can be extraordinarily troublesome to reside down for the Reynas, they usually managed to come back out trying worse because the report revealed that Claudio Reyna declined to talk to investigators whereas Danielle Reyna modified her story over the course of two interviews. (In her first interview, she denied saying she spoke to Stewart “about anything.” She later admitted she did.)

The stage of pettiness, vindictiveness and incapability to see the larger image, as revealed within the investigation, rivals the worst excesses of pushy, youth soccer dad and mom. The investigation paints this as a long-term pattern from Claudio Reyna — again in 2018, he even took to complaining to a federation official a few U.S. Soccer Development Academy sport having feminine referees, per the report.

Perhaps probably the most galling half about it’s that Gio Reyna’s expertise was apparent from an early age: the Reynas did not want to do that. His pedigree and expertise virtually actually would have gotten him to the place he’s at present.

Now, a lifelong friendship between the Berhalter and Reyna households has been broken, in all probability past restore, however which may not even examine to the hurt completed to Claudio Reyna’s skilled repute.



Is there any problem with Gio Reyna’s celebration?

Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar analyze Gio Reyna’s aim celebration that could possibly be focused towards Gregg Berhalter.

Claudio Reyna’s public persona was that of the sage — one whose expertise in Europe gave him an astute, goal view of the place the U.S. stood within the broader soccer panorama, and the way greatest to enhance the nation’s pedigree as a soccer nation. He was a cerebral participant on the sector, one who Stewart as soon as mentioned “brought peace to the game.” He projected the identical air of calmness to his govt roles. But that façade has been torn off, with Claudio revealing himself to be no extra resistant to the worst soccer mum or dad impulses than anybody else.

It is now troublesome to see how Claudio Reyna can tackle any public-facing position and have any credibility in any respect, regardless of his successes with NYCFC and most lately Austin FC. Could he tackle a job extra within the background? He may. He’s nonetheless in an advisory position at Austin, although it is unclear precisely what that entails. (ESPN has reached out to Austin FC for remark.) But that may be a big come-down from the place he as soon as stood. It will take some doing, and appreciable time, to even get again to the extent which he only recently occupied. He could by no means make it again.

What’s subsequent for the U.S. Soccer Federation?

This entire saga has additionally confirmed some quite long-held suspicions concerning the federation: that it is too insular, too chummy, an excessive amount of of a good-old-boy community.

Sure, an govt is sure to rent, or no less than find time for, their buddies. But Claudio Reyna ought to by no means have been allowed to have the form of entry to coaches and executives that he did, and for so long as he did. That U.S. Soccer is barely now placing collectively a coverage to forestall mum or dad/coach interactions primarily based on the investigation speaks to how a lot Claudio abused his entry.

Now, with Earnie Stewart having vacated his sporting director position, U.S. Soccer will attempt to transfer on by hiring Stewart’s substitute, who will in flip drive the seek for a males’s nationwide crew coach. Federation officers actually appear to be taking their time about it, a headshaking behavior that reared itself throughout the prolonged course of that led to Berhalter’s hiring.

Interviews for the sporting director place are underway, a U.S. Soccer spokesman advised ESPN. With the summer season months occupying the interval on the calendar when probably the most coaches can be accessible, the earlier that place is stuffed the higher.


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