Explained: What’s next for USMNT as report finds Reyna ‘bullying,’ Berhalter told truth

Findings from the US Football Federation’s domestic violence investigation involving former US men’s team manager Gregg Berhalter and his wife Rosalind, and Claudio and Danielle Reina’s behavior in relation to their son’s World Cup playing time. , Gio Reina — were released on Monday.

An investigation and report by an independent law firm corroborated much of the previous reporting made by Sportzshala and other sources in terms of what generally went on between the Reins and Berhalter. But he also added additional details to show what the Reins went to in an attempt to influence how US Soccer decision makers should treat their son, including allegations of “bullying,” and shed new light on the federation’s insular culture.

Here’s a deeper look into how this saga played out, what the investigation found, and what it means for the participants.

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How did US Soccer, Berhalter and Reynas get to the point where an investigation became necessary?

This Shakespearean tale is about many things – broken friendships, family ambitions for a son, an admitted case of domestic violence – but it fell apart over the most basic aspects of football: playing time, or lack of it.

It all started with US national team linebacker Gio Reina suffering an injured 2021–22 season and Gregg Berhalter worrying about Reina’s fitness, causing the coach to cut him down to a World Cup bench role. As a result, Reyna pouted his way through training, so much so that Berhalter nearly sent him home.

While there was considerable debate among fans and pundits about Reyna’s role, the story was nearly settled until Berhalter opened up about the incident during a speech at a leadership conference less than two weeks after the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup. Berhalter did not name names, but speculation immediately pointed to Reina.

This angered the Reina family. Claudio and Daniel Reina were already outraged at their son’s lack of playing time and made strong hints that there was something in Berhalter’s past that would have prevented him from staying with US Soccer as the team’s head coach.

After demanding to speak with then-US Soccer athletic director Ernie Stewart, Danielle Reina revealed that Berhalter committed domestic violence against his now wife, Rosalind, in 1992. As a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Berhalters got into an argument outside a bar after Rosalind was seen dancing with another student-athlete. Rosalind punched Gregg in the face, after which Gregg pushed her and kicked her twice. At that moment, a passer-by grabbed Gregg, ending the altercation. The police were not notified.

Stewart, following federation policy, spoke to US Soccer lawyers about the allegation. The federation then hired the law firm Alston & Bird to investigate.

Meanwhile, Berhalter publicly confessed to what had happened. His contract as head coach of the US men’s team expired on December 31, 2022.

What new details did the investigation find and what conclusions did it come to about the behavior of Berhalter and Reinas?

For the Berhalters, the investigation confirmed their version of events, including that the domestic violence incident had indeed taken place. The investigation also confirmed that after the incident, Gregg Berhalter sought counseling as well as community service to make amends. He and Rosalind later reconciled, got married, and now have four children.

The investigation also concluded that Berhalter did not violate any laws or US Soccer policies by not disclosing the incident. Since there was no police report, it was not something that would come up in a background check and he would not be asked during an interrogation about such an incident.

For these reasons, Berhalter is now in a position to be re-hired by US Soccer and remains a candidate to take on the role of manager of the US men’s national team again.

As for Reinas, the report confirms that they pressured US Soccer officials and coaches about playing time for their son, but the investigation found that Reinas did this for several years, including complaining to the coach at the World Cup among boys under 17 in 2019. Gio Reyna Game Time Cup. The report also shows how far the Reinas are willing to go, with one employee describing Claudio Reina’s interactions as “inappropriate”, “intimidating”, and “mean”.

At the last World Cup, Claudio Reina sent a message to Ernie Stewart about Gio’s lack of playing time against Wales, writing: “What a complete and blatant fucking joke. Our family is disgusted, in case you’re wondering. he is allowed never to challenge and to do whatever he wants.”

The report found that both Claudio and Daniel Reina made veiled threats to US Soccer officials that there was something in Berhalter’s past that prevented him from continuing as team manager. Danielle told a federation official, “After this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and one interview and his cool shoes and passes will be gone.”

Claudio Reina told Brian McBride, the then CEO of the men’s national team, “You guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg.”

So what does this mean for Gregg Berhalter and his future at US Soccer?

Officially, that means there’s no reason why he can’t be hired by US Soccer again as the federation is looking for a head coach after Berhalter’s contract expired late last year. One could argue that his track record justifies this: he made it to the World Cup playoffs and won a couple of continental titles – the Gold Cup and the League of Nations in 2021 – at the expense of Mexico.

But this is far from guaranteed, and there are several reasons why this may not happen.

There is a sense that four years is exactly the time a national team manager should have before his message becomes outdated and less effective, although there are exceptions. Another unresolved issue is the damage Berhalter did to the US men’s national team locker room credibility after he covertly revealed Gio Reyna’s behavior at the World Cup.

But the biggest cause of all is the problem of domestic violence. Yes, that was 31 years ago. Yes, the investigation concluded that this was indeed an isolated case, and not what Berhalter repeated. But it did, and given how US Soccer has handled — or failed to deal with — abuse allegations in the past — the federation may decide it’s easier to move on and hire someone new. Federation officials, however, insist that a decision to hire a head coach will not be made until a new athletic director has been hired to replace Ernie Stewart, who left in January for a new job, and they hope to announce a coach by September.

Will Berhalter work in football again? Considering he’s cleared of charges here, he’ll probably have options. But it may be good for him to distance himself a bit from the US program, whether it be overseas or even in the MLS. If he were hired again by US Soccer, the brunt of what happened in the last six months would still be on him. As the US co-hosts the 2026 FIFA World Cup with Canada and Mexico, the federation may decide it can do without it.

And what does this mean for Reinas?

For Gio Reyna, the last six months will be a heavy burden.

Of course, some of what happened was his fault. His attitude should have been much better and there was no need to intervene to change it. But he was an outside observer in terms of everything that happened after the World Cup, and what his parents did. None of this is his fault.

However, given the questions that will arise in his next camp in the US, Gio may decide that he is not ready to take part in the international window at the end of the month when the US faces Grenada and El Salvador in the CONCACAF Nations League. But US Soccer clearly wants him around. Interim USA men’s national team manager Anthony Hudson has already made a trip to Germany, where Gio plays for Borussia Dortmund, to smooth over any grievances. The sooner Gio gets back, the sooner he can move on.

As for his parents, the good news is that the investigation concluded that they were not engaged in blackmail or extortion. But that’s all.

This entire episode would be extremely difficult for the Reinas to get through, and they managed to look even worse as the report showed that Claudio Reina refused to speak to investigators and Danielle Reina changed her story over the course of two interviews. (In her first interview, she denied speaking to Stewart “about anything.” She later admitted that she did.)

The level of pettiness, vindictiveness and inability to see the bigger picture, the investigation found, rivals the worst excesses of pushy, young soccer parents. Investigation draws this as a long term model from Claudio Reyna — back in 2018, he even complained to a federation representative about having female referees in the US Football Development Academy game, according to the report.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about this is that Gio Reyna’s talent was evident from an early age; Reinas didn’t have to do that. His pedigree and talent would almost certainly have taken him to where he is today.

Now the lifelong friendship between the Berhalter and Reina families has been shattered, perhaps beyond repair, but it doesn’t even compare to the damage done to Claudio Reina’s professional reputation.

Claudio Reyna’s public persona was that of a sage whose experience in Europe gave him an insightful and objective view of where the US stands in the wider football landscape and how best to improve the country’s pedigree as a footballing nation. He was a brain player on…


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