Former US captain and teammate of now ex-head coach Gregg Berhalter, Claudio Reyna, and his wife Danielle — the parents of current USMNT forward Gio Reyna — reportedly sent messages to the United States Soccer Federation threatening to reveal the information regarding Berhalter’s 1991 incident in which he kicked his wife, Rosalind.
First reported by ESPN, US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart received the call from Reyna and his wife on Dec. 11 — eight days after the US was bounced from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — revealing the incident 31 years ago, which Berhalter addressed in a statement on Tuesday.
That call came just hours after Berhalter admitted at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership in New York that there was a player on the US men’s national team (USMNT) that was nearly sent home for “not meeting expectations on and off the field.” While the player was not named, Gio Reyna revealed on Instagram the next day that he was the one in question.
Gio Reyna played just 53 minutes over two appearances at the World Cup.
Berhalter’s contract with the USMNT expired on Dec. 31 and on Wednesday, US Soccer named Anthony Hudson as head coach for the team’s January camp in California as investigations continue into his conduct along with a full review of the men’s team’s program.
In a statement released Wednesday, Danielle Reyna confirmed that she sent spoke to Stewart, though she didn’t “know anything about any blackmail attempts.”
The full statement is below.
“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. 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.
As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age. Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, 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.
At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation. I’m not criticizing Earnie here. I very much commend the recent efforts by U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared. But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff—I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all.
I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.”
In a statement made to Fox Sports, Claudio Reyna confirmed that he was also in touch with Stewart on Dec. 11.
“I too was upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the US was out of the World Cup,” he said. “I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on Dec. 11 asking him to prevent any additional comments…
“However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so.”
Gio Reyna, at just 20 years old, is one of the brightest American soccer stars as he continues to establish his career with the famous German club, Borussia Dortmund.
For more on Gio Reyna, Gregg Berhalter, and USMNT, visit AMNY.com
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