Claudio Reyna and Danielle Reyna at her 2016 induction into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
The U.S. men’s World Cup controversy involving head coach Gregg Berhalter has turned into a soap opera as the other soccer shoe dropped on Wednesday.
Danielle Reyna, the wife of former U.S. men’s national team captain Claudio Reyna, made sure of that as she admitted that she told U.S. Soccer about Berhalter’s domestic violence incident 31 years ago because she was frustrated by comments he made about her son Gio after the World Cup.
Reyna, the former Danielle Egan, who once played for the Massapequa Falcons in the Long Island Junior Soccer League, made her comments to U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart during the World Cup, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
In a statement, Danielle Reyna said: “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.”
Claudio also sent multiple messages to USMNT general manager Brian McBride and Stewart during the World Cup, in which he said he shared his frustration about his son’s experience in Qatar in November and December, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Kyle Bonagura reported in their story.
According to ESPN, multiple sources said that Claudio threatened to share allegations about Berhalter’s past, but the former U.S.player denied those allegations.
“While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them. However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so,” Claudio Reyna said in a statement.
The wheels started turning when Berhalter told Gio Reyna he was going to see limited action in Qatar.
On Tuesday, Berhalter alleged that he was being blackmailed in an attempt to take him down after the USMNT was eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.
U.S. Soccer said that it was investigating the situation in which Berhalter kicked his future wife Rosalind, who was then his girlfriend, in the legs after a heated argument while both were students at the University of North Carolina in 1991.
Rosalind grew up on Long Island.
In his statement, Berhalter detailed the incident, explaining how he and Rosalind moved on from it. Berhalter claimed it was “an apparent attempt to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer.”
Berhalter added that this was “a story that belongs to us,” but wrote that “now is the time for me to publicly share some personal information which a third party has used against my family and me.”
In his statement, Berhalter wrote that, a few months into his relationship with Rosalind, they were “drinking at a local bar” when they “had a heated argument that continued outside. It became physical and I kicked her in the legs.”
“There are zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day,” Berhalter added. “At that time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably, she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, my family, and friends what happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behavior. Rosalind also informed her parents, family and friends. While the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought out counseling to help learn, grow and improve – one of the most valuable decisions that I ever made. To this day, that type of behavior has never been repeated.”
Berhalter, 51, wrote that seven months later, Rosalind called him and they rebuilt their relationship. They have lived together for almost three decades, raised four children and celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary recently.
U.S. Soccer hired the Alston & Bird law firm to conduct an independent investigation.
Claudio Reyna, a member of four men’s World Cup squads, captained the two at two world championships (2002, 2006). The current FC Austin sporting director scored eight goals in 112 international appearances.
Danielle Reyna made six appearances with the U.S. women’s national team in 1993, scoring once.