USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, technically no longer under contract as of the start of 2023, is under investigation by U.S. Soccer because of an incident in 1992 in which he admitted he kicked his wife Rosalind before they married. His statement on January 3 prompted U.S. Soccer to acknowledge the ongoing inquiry.
While Berhalter said he had informed family and friends of the situation long ago, the matter remained unknown publicly through the 2022 World Cup.
Here's what is known right now about his contract status and the investigation, which concluded on March 13...
What happened between Berhalter and his wife?
All that was disclosed entering the investigation came from the lengthy statement the manager published on Twitter (which can be found in its entirety here).
In the statement, Berhalter said he kicked his wife in a dispute at a bar in 1991 when they were dating. He said his actions were "shameful" but had been dealt with at the time inside his personal circle. He wrote that he sought counseling and "that type of behavior has never been repeated" - and he asked readers for his violent conduct not to define him.
Authorities were never involved in the matter, Berhalter said.Getty Images
The independent report commissioned by U.S. Soccer dated the incident to 1992 - not 1991 - but otherwise backed Berhalter's assessment of the situation and confirmed it was an isolated act of violence.
As a result, U.S. Soccer has said Berhalter will remain under consideration for the now-vacant head coach position.
"Given the investigators’ conclusion that there is no legal impediment to employing him, Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team," wrote U.S. Soccer on March 13.
What are the blackmail claims?
Berhalter suggested he was blackmailed before sharing the information about the 1991 incident, and ESPN reported that former USMNT star Claudio Reyna, father of current USMNT player Gio Reyna, was involved in apparent retaliation for Gio's treatment at the World Cup.
"During the World Cup, an individual contacted U.S. Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would 'take me down' - an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer," Berhalter wrote.
U.S. Soccer said the blackmail claims were part of its investigation.
"Through this process, U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization," wrote the organization. "We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations."
Later, Danielle Reyna, the mother of Gio Reyna, admitted she mentioned the domestic violence incident to then-sporting director Earnie Stewart, however she denied the conversation amounted to blackmail.
Stewart has since announced he would leave U.S. Soccer but claimed the controversy was unrelated, while Claudio Reyna stepped down from his job at MLS club Austin FC.Getty Images
The report says the Reyna family did not engage in blackmail.
"Blackmail or extortion is the act of obtaining property by compelling or inducing a person to deliver such property by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so delivered," it says. "The actor or another will cause some form of harm to the person. Based on the facts gathered to date, we do not conclude that the Reynas’ actions rise to the level of or would otherwise result in a conviction for extortion. We obtained no information that could suggest that the Reynas demanded to receive something of value in exchange for not disclosing information about Mr. Berhalter to others."
Timeline of U.S. Soccer's Berhalter investigation
U.S. Soccer said the investigation into Berhalter began on Dec. 11, 2022, eight days after the World Cup campaign ended with a loss to the Netherlands (the existence of an investigation wasn't made public until January). The organization did not indicate who tipped it off to open up an inquiry, though it has later been revealed to be the Reyna family.
U.S. Soccer did not estimate when the investigation would end but did say results would be made public - and they indeed were on March 13.
"Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we will share the results of the investigation publicly when it is complete," wrote the organization in its statement.Getty Images
The main takeaways from the report are that Berhalter remains in contention for the USMNT job, and the Reyna family engaged in a long-term campaign harassing U.S. Soccer over the treatment of Gio Reyna.
Is Berhalter still under contract?
Berhalter is no longer an employee; however, the USSF carried the investigation anyway.
There have not been any announcements about whether U.S. Soccer will give Berhalter a new contract, though the manager is still in the running.
For now, the USMNT has named Anthony Hudson the interim manager for January's international camp.
With Stewart stepping away as U.S. Soccer sporting director, Hudson may remain in his role through at least the summer. He said he has no idea what the future holds.