The investigation reveals the extent of Gregg Berhalter’s 1992 attack, interference and threats from Claudio Reyna

Gregg Berhalter and Gio Reyna during the 2022 USMNT World Cup Round of 16 match against Netherlands. (Danielle Parhizkaran – USA TODAY Sport)

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of battery and battery.

An investigation into decades of domestic violence involving former US men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter has shed further details of Berhalter’s 1992 assault on his now-wife and revealed how USMNT star Gio Reyna’s parents dealt with it Details pushed back into the limelight.

The investigation, commissioned by US Soccer and conducted by attorneys from the law firm Alston & Bird, cleared Berhalter of further wrongdoing beyond the 1992 incident Berhalter publicly detailed in January. And US Soccer said in a statement released with the report that Berhalter “remains a candidate to serve as head coach” of the USMNT going forward.

But on that January night in 1992, when Berhalter and then-girlfriend Rosalind, while drinking as 18-year-old college students at a bar called Players in North Carolina, “began fighting in the bar,” investigators from Alston & Bird in her report. “They left the bar together and continued to argue; [Rosalind] blow [Gregg] in the face; [Gregg] pushed her to the ground and kicked her twice; [Gregg] was attacked by a passer-by whom the two keepers did not know.”

Those details aside, the investigative report released by US Soccer on Monday largely confirmed Gregg’s public account of the aftermath, which included a reconciliation between him and Rosalind seven months later.

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“Mr. Berhalter admitted his guilt and accountability the day after the incident in 1992,” the investigating attorneys wrote. “Witnesses further confirmed that Mr. Berhalter himself immediately reported the attack to his head coach at UNC the day after the 1992 incident and took action of his own accord to prevent a recurrence.”

Claudio Reyna’s “Pattern”

The investigation, on the other hand, often contradicted public statements by Claudio and Danielle Reyna, Gio’s parents and longtime friends of the Berhalters, who told US soccer director Earnie Stewart in a December 11 call about the 1992 incident that they were frustrated at Gio’s lack of playing time at the World Cup .

But that wasn’t an isolated call; Investigators noted that Claudio – who declined their request for an interview – had a “pattern of regular contacts” with US football officials “to address specific grievances and comments about the treatment of his children by US football, including primarily his son to transmit”. This pattern continued throughout the 2022 World Cup, but it didn’t start there.

His behavior was described by an unnamed person as “inappropriate”, “bullying” and “vicious”. It all started way back in 2016 when Gio played in US youth teams as a teenager and for New York City FC in the development of US soccer. Claudio once tried to convince US soccer officials to pick up a red card that Gio had received . In 2018, he wrote an email complaining about a female referee: “Can we get real and have male referees for a game like this? It’s embarrassing guys. What are we trying to prove? A game like this deserves bed[e]r attention.”

In 2019, Claudio sent messages anticipating his behavior in 2022. He texted Berhalter to complain about US U-17 coach Raphaël Wicky during the U-17 World Cup. “He’s the worst coach,” Claudio wrote.

“When things don’t go well for Gio, [the Reynas] turn and go into attack mode,” Gregg told investigators. And that’s exactly what they did last November.

The World Cup rage and the Reynas’ vague threats

The investigation found that after the USMNT’s opening game against Wales, in which Gio did not play, Claudio and Danielle “each made a vague remark to US football officials claiming they knew damaging information about Mr Berhalter, the US football didn’t know”.

“What a complete and utter joke,” Claudio Stewart wrote that night. “Our family is disgusted, in case you’re wondering. Disgusted at how a coach is allowed to never be challenged and do what they want.”

He also wrote USMNT General Manager Brian McBride: “Our entire family is disgusted, angry and at it with you guys. Don’t expect nice comments about US soccer from anyone in our family. I am transparent to you, not like the federal political clown show.”

Three days later, according to McBride, at a meeting he scheduled with the Reynas to explain Gio’s lack of playing time, Claudio told McBride, “You guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg.”

Danielle, meanwhile, refused to board a bus her family had shared with Berhalter’s family for transport to and from the games after the Wales game. Before that night, Danielle and Rosalind had been close friends, dating back to their days as roommates at UNC. They “had spoken to each other every day for decades,” Gregg told investigators. “And it ended immediately.”

The following day, at a lunchtime event for USMNT families and friends, according to an unnamed witness, she said: “Once this tournament is over, I can make a call and do an interview, and [Gregg’s] cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”

“The vibe was like, ‘I can take him down,'” the unnamed witness told investigators.

There were 150 people in the [USMNT’s] Friends and family program at this year’s World Cup,” Berhalter told investigators. These five cursed and behaved horribly. It was the Reynas.”

World Cup aftermath

The World Cup drama seemed to have died down in early December after the USMNT lost 3-1 to the Netherlands in the round of 16. On the way home from Qatar, Gregg then stopped in New York and attended the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership. During a session he believed was essentially confidential, he shared a story about how he almost sent home a misbehaving US player during the World Cup. He didn’t name the player, but hours after his comments were posted on December 11, later reports confirmed the player was Gio.

Stewart essentially corroborated these reports and Berhalter’s account to investigators. He said Gio “run[ed] around, and tribulation[d] all the time” during a scrimmage days before the Wales game, and “seemed ticked off” and “seemed not trying at all”. After a conversation between Berhalter and Gio, Gio’s insufficient effort continued, prompting talks among the officials and Trainers on whether to send Gio home.

According to Stewart, Berhalter made the decision to let Gio stay on the condition that Gio apologize to his teammates – which he ultimately did. Anyway, after the apology there were no more problems.

But then, a week after the USMNT’s elimination, Berhalter’s comments began to circulate. That day, Claudio sent “a series of text messages” to Stewart, investigators found. Both Claudio and Danielle then spoke to Stewart on the phone. According to Stewart, towards the end of an hour-long call, Danielle claimed that Gregg “beat up” Rosalind during her freshman year.

When contacted by investigators, Danielle initially denied speaking to Stewart that day after what she called “several attempts to arrange an interview.” “She then called back almost immediately,” investigators wrote, acknowledging the call and the allegation.

“Specifically, Mrs. Reyna said she brought up the incident with Mr. Stewart in their Dec. 11 phone call because Mr. Berhalter put her in two situations in which he hurt two people she ‘loved beyond words.’ and she ‘can’t’ think a man has done that twice.’ [Danielle] said she was referring to the fight [Gregg] had with [Rosalind] and the ‘public outing [of] gio.’ She further explained that she told Mr. Stewart about the 1992 incident because he was a friend and she wanted him to understand her feelings.

However, Stewart felt compelled to report the allegation that evening. He called Alison Kocoras, US Soccer’s lead attorney, who told investigators that Danielle Stewart had said that while she would never “go public” with the allegation of the 1992 attack, she would talk about it privately.

US Soccer then hired Alston & Bird to lead the investigation. a few weeks later, US Soccer Announced that while the investigation was ongoing, the scope of the investigation had expanded to include “potential inappropriate conduct towards several members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization.”

Technically, the investigation found, neither Claudio nor Danielle violated US soccer guidelines — but that’s largely because US soccer didn’t have established guidelines for parent-staff interactions. The federation said in its statement on Monday that it would “revise” its “policy on appropriate parental behavior and communication with staff at national team level.” We will update these guidelines as we continue to work to ensure safe environments for all participants in our game.”

Where Berhalter, Reynas go from here

Before the inquest, Berhalter was the heavy favorite to keep his job as USMNT coach for another four years until the 2026 World Cup. But the investigation, while ultimately clearing him of all legal obstacles to employment, clouded his future and put US soccer’s post-World Cup processes on hold.

Berhalter’s contract expired on December 31. In early January, FA officials said he remains a candidate to lead the team going forward and Berhalter said he would “love to stay in my role”. But then Stewart, the man who originally hired him in 2018 and now had the authority to reinstate him, left his post to take a job at PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Since McBride is also leaving – a decision he says he did it in October — Berhalter has lost two of its biggest allies in US soccer. He appears a long shot for a second cycle as USMNT coach, but that decision will rest with the new athletic director, according to US Soccer.

In its statement Monday, US Soccer said interviews are ongoing for the role of athletic director.

As for Gio, several US football figures have stressed that nothing from the investigation will affect his relationship with the USMNT going forward. Interim head coach Anthony Hudson met with Gio in Germany last month. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder should remain a key figure for the team this year, throughout the 2026 World Cup cycle and beyond.

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