Several former U.S. Soccer stars are not happy about the “sad telenovela drama” that is playing out between Claudio and Danielle Reyna and Gregg Berhalter, pointing the finger at the Reynas.
Danielle, a former USWNT player and wife of ex-USMNT star Claudio, revealed Wednesday she was the one who contacted U.S. Soccer about an incident involving Berhalter, the USMNT coach, and his now-wife Rosalind in college in which Berhalter kicked her legs. Danielle said she contacted U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart on Dec. 11 after critical comments made by Berhalter about an anonymous player later confirmed to be current USMNT player Gio Reyna – Danielle and Claudio’s son – became public. ESPN reported Claudio threatened to share allegations about Berhalter, a claim Claudio denied.
“I’m not really proud of what’s happened today with the national team. I really am not,” former USMNT goalkeeper Tony Meola, a former teammate of Claudio’s, said on SiriusXM radio on Wednesday. “This saddens me, in a lot of ways. It disgusts me in so many different ways. This should never have came out. Shame on Danielle Reyna to think, knowing what she knows, living the life that she has lived in sport — first through her husband, now through her family — that she didn’t think this was gonna come out. That she thought that this was just a conversation.
“That she — and by the way, I’m gonna add Claudio to this — that he crossed the line of a friendship, and by the way, a really deep friendship with Gregg Berhalter and the family. They completely crossed the line and it’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable. I’m sad to be a U.S. Soccer fan today.”
Berhalter released a statement on Tuesday saying someone contacted U.S. Soccer during the 2022 World Cup with information 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 admitted that he kicked Rosalind in the legs while out drinking when he was a freshman in college. He also said “that type of behavior has never been repeated.” U.S. Soccer hired a firm to investigate the incident.
After rumblings during the World Cup about issues involving Gio Reyna, Berhalter said at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership that an anonymous player “was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field” and that the team considered sending him home from Qatar. The comments were published by the Charter newsletter; US Soccer later said the comments were meant to be “explicitly off the record.”
Gio Reyna then confirmed in an Instagram post on Dec. 12 that he “let my emotions get the best of me” after being told by Berhalter — whose best man at his wedding was Claudio — that his role at the World Cup would be limited. Gio Reyna also expressed displeasure with Berhalter for not keeping matters “in house.”
“This is wild and extremely sad for all parties involved,” former USMNT forward Herculez Gomez wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Domestic violence, Blackmail claims, Helicopter parents, and just sad telenovela drama between what were a group of two very close friends.”
Gomez added the Reynas “come off looking terrible” and that he doesn’t “see how Gregg Berhalter comes back from this.”
“Quite honestly it’s sad, to me,” former USMNT forward Taylor Twellman said on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Wednesday. “I think in a nutshell, it tells you where U.S. Soccer is, and the state of U.S. Soccer, the fact that we are talking about this. The fact that the Berhalters have to relive this in front of the public and in the public’s eyes. Based on what reasoning? Because he didn’t play his best friend’s son?”
Berhalter’s contract ran out at the end of 2022. U.S. Soccer said Wednesday that Anthony Hudson will be the team’s head coach for the USMNT’s California training camp this month. Stewart said Berhalter remains “under consideration” to stay on as the team’s coach.
Danielle said in her statement on Wednesday that she felt her son was “dragged through the mud.”
“I wanted to let [Stewart] know that I was absolutely outraged and [devastated] that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades,” Danielle said.
Danielle also said that Berhalter’s and U.S. Soccer’s Tuesday statements “significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question.”