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Investigation Reveals Details Of Berhalter-Reyna Family Feud

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 3: United States head coach Gregg Berhalter salutes the fans after a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and USMNT at Khalifa International Stadium on December 3, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Alston & Bird law firm hired by U.S. Soccer to investigate a 1992 domestic violence incident between former USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and his wife, Rosalind, as well as the nature of how that incident became public earlier this year, has released a report of its findings. The 40-page document includes new details about what exactly happened between the Berhalters in 1992, and lays out the process by which a simmering feud between Danielle and Claudio Reyna, the parents of USMNT star Gio Reyna, and U.S. Soccer led to the incident becoming publicized.

On Jan. 3, the Berhalters released a joint statement describing a domestic violence incident that occurred when they were dating as 18-year-old college students at the University of North Carolina, where they both played soccer. According to the statement, the pair got into a heated argument outside of bar after a night of drinking, which ended with Gregg kicking Rosalind in the legs. The report offers more details, taken from interviews with the Berhalters and people who were aware of the incident at the time. According to the account Gregg gave to the investigators, the fight began inside of a night club called Players after Gregg became "jealous about something." The argument then moved outside, where Rosalind "pushed and scratched" Gregg's face, and he responded by pushing her to the ground and "kicking her twice in the upper leg area." At that point, Gregg was tackled by an unknown bystander as Rosalind left the scene.

The Berhalters told investigators that no police report was filed, and that they separated for seven months after the incident. Gregg told the investigators that he self-reported the incident to the head coaches of the men's and women's soccer teams, sought counseling, and performed community service. He also told the investigators that "the whole athlete student body at UNC" knew about the incident shortly after it had occurred.

One person who knew about the incident was Danielle Reyna, as she was teammates and close friends with Rosalind and escorted Rosalind back to her dorm that night. Alston & Bird's investigation confirmed previous reporting which indicated that it was Danielle who instigated U.S. Soccer's investigation into the 1992 incident by bringing it up to U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart during a phone call. According to Stewart's interview with investigators, Danielle brought up the kicking incident while complaining about some negative comments Gregg had made at a leadership conference about her son's behavior at the World Cup. From the report:

On December 11th, Mr. and Mrs. Reyna had a phone call with Mr. Stewart. The phone call took place at 7:28 p.m. and lasted approximately one hour. At the time of this call, Mr. Stewart was the Technical Director of U.S. Soccer. He was Mr. Berhalter’s boss.

The call was prompted by text messages Mr. Reyna sent Mr. Stewart that day about comments Mr. Berhalter recently made at a leadership conference concerning Mr. Reyna’s son, Gio. After reading the text messages, Mr. Stewart agreed to call Mr. Reyna to discuss the situation. Mr. Stewart spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Reyna.

According to Mr. Stewart, near the end of the call, Mrs. Reyna told him that Mr. Berhalter had an altercation with his then girlfriend, Mrs. Berhalter, in the 1990s. Mr. Stewart said that Mrs. Reyna told him, “Gregg beat the living shit out of her [Mrs. Berhalter] in a back alleyway.” Mr. Stewart said Mrs. Reyna told him Mr. Berhalter did this because he saw Mrs. Berhalter dancing with a football player earlier that night in a bar.

Mr. Stewart explained that Mrs. Reyna told him during this call that “everyone” knew about this incident at the time it happened. She apparently said that “all” their ex-teammates on the UNC soccer team knew about the 1992 Incident at the time. According to Mr. Stewart, Mrs. Reyna also told him that she and her husband were not intending to make this information public, but they were thinking about starting to spread the story to others privately.

Alston & Bird Report

When the Alston & Bird investigators reached out to Danielle Reyna to confirm Stewart's version of events, they had trouble gaining her cooperation:

After several attempts to speak with Mrs. Reyna, we had two brief calls with her on December 29th.

At the start of the first phone conversation, Mrs. Reyna made clear that she did not want to speak with us. We asked her if she and Mr. Reyna had a phone conversation with Mr. Stewart on December 11th at 7:28 p.m. In response, Mrs. Reyna told us, “I will not confirm anything.” She said she would not get involved because, as she explained, “I have cleaned my mind."

We asked Mrs. Reyna again if she had a phone call with Mr. Stewart in December to make a report about Mr. Berhalter. She told us: “I’m not saying I did that. I am not saying anything. I won’t confirm or deny that I made that allegation to Earnie.” We asked her if she was on the phone with Mr. Stewart in December, and she said, “I deny we were on a phone call.” We asked, then, if she was denying the she and Mr. Reyna had a phone call with Mr. Stewart, and she said, “Yes, I am denying this whole thing.” She then told us that she didn’t speak to Mr. Stewart about anything; that she did not remember; and that there is nothing else she could share with us. She closed by telling us that she had nothing else to say, and that “if you want to close it, you can close it.” The call ended.

Alston & Bird report

The report states that Danielle later called the investigators back to confirm the version of events that Stewart had told them.

The report also details a growing dissatisfaction felt by Claudio and Danielle Reyna over their son's place on the USMNT, the culmination of which was the phone call with Stewart. While at the World Cup in Qatar, the Reynas became increasingly upset with their son's lack of playing time, at which point they both began to make vague threats over Berhalter's career. According to one unnamed source interviewed by investigators, Claudio and Danielle refused to get back on the team bus following the USMNT's group-stage match against Wales, in which Gio was an unused substitute. The next day, Danielle spoke to this source and said about Gregg Berhalter, "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."

USMNT general manager Brian McBride had similar interactions with Claudio Reyna. He showed investigators a text message that Claudio sent him after the Wales match, which read: "Our entire family is disgusted, angry, and done with you guys. Don’t expect nice comments from anyone in our family about US Soccer. I’m being transparent to you not like the political clown show of the federation." McBride and Stewart met with the Reynas two days later to try and smooth things over, at which point Claudio told them, "you guys don't even know what we know about Gregg," without offering any details.

The report also details interactions between Claudio Reyna and U.S. Soccer in the years leading up to the World Cup, in which he consistently comes off as a nightmarish sports parent. In 2018, he sent an email complaining that a female referee was involved in a match that Gio played in, writing, "And in all honest [sic] can we get real and have male refs for a game like this. Its embarrassing guys. What are we trying to prove? A game like this deserves bett[e]r attention."

Ultimately, the report concludes that no criminal laws, U.S. Soccer policies, or SafeSport policies were violated by any of the parties involved. The USMNT is still in the process of naming a permanent head coach.

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