Claudio Reyna is embroiled in a controversy concerning his son, which was started by him and his wife. (Photo courtesy of Austin FC)
By Michael Lewis
Has the Gio Reyna controversy cost Claudio Reyna his job with Austin FC?
Perhaps it has.
Austin FC announced Thursday that the former U.S. international captain has resigned as the club’s sporting director and “has transitioned into a technical advisor role.
“We’re grateful for Claudio’s contributions to both our Club and our community,” Austin FC majority owner and CEO Anthony Precourt said in a statement. “Claudio has been committed to the cause of building a club that inspires Austin, and he will remain in a position to contribute to our organization.”
In his statement, Reyna, the original sporting director of New York City FC, did not give any clue if his and his wife’s role in the U.S. men’s national team’s controversy surrounding his son had any role of his resignation.
“I am grateful that Anthony and the organization have given me the opportunity to scale back my role and responsibilities while continuing to contribute to the success of a club that I love,” he said in s statement. “I take great pride in what we have accomplished but am looking forward to a less all-consuming work pace that still permits me to assist ongoing club development.”
It has been speculated on this website and elsewhere that Claudio Reyna’s presence with Austin FC could be a distraction for the team.
Head coach Josh Wolff and interim sporting director Sean Rubio will jointly assume additional day-to-day responsibilities, including the club’s talent identification, acquisition, and management strategy, as well as full technical and high-performance duties. While Wolff will lead the sporting department as Austin FC’s interim chief soccer officer, he and Rubio will report directly to Precourt.
During the World Cup, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter told Reyna that he wasn’t going to see much action in Qatar. Reyna did not start and was used as a substitute.
Reyna’s wife, the former Danielle Egan, who played for the North Babylon Strikers (Long Island Junior Soccer League) complained to U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and relayed to him about an incident in which Berhalter had kicked his future wife, Rosalind Santana while the two were dating at the University of North Carolina 31 years ago. Danielle Reyna and Rosalind were close friends from their youth soccer days and were roommates in college.
Upon returning to the United States after the Americans were eliminated by the Netherlands in the Round of 16, Berhalter told a symposium that he and the staff considered sending a player home. He did not reveal who the player was. What Berhalter had said at the event was not supposed to be on the record, but the organization mistakenly put it out for public consumption.
Eventually, the media ascertained it was Reyna, who is the son of former U.S. men’s international Claudio Reyna.
In the aftermath, Berhalter was put under investigation by U.S. Soccer for the incident. Since his contract expired on Dec. 31 and his future with U.S. Soccer unsettled, Anthony Hudson is coaching the Americans in two friendlies in southern California this week.