Gio Reyna’s parents blackmailing Gregg Berhalter over playing time is the scandal U.S. Soccer needed to start 2023
What a wild story this turned out to be. What started off as an odd World Cup story with Gio Reyna seeing less playing time than expected has exploded into an inferno of blackmail, broken friendships, and pure American soccer parent energy.
Gio Reyna’s parents contacted U.S. Soccer about a 1991 domestic violence incident involving Gregg Berhalter (one of their closest family friends):
[Source] – Former United States men’s national team captain Claudio Reyna sent multiple messages to U.S. Soccer executives during the World Cup threatening to reveal sensitive details about USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter’s past, multiple sources told ESPN.
The messages began after his son, Gio Reyna, was informed he would have a limited role at the tournament.
Gregg’s wife, Rosalind, was an elite soccer player at UNC, where she was teammates with Danielle Reyna. 32 years later, Reyna and her husband called U.S. Soccer to tear down her son’s national team coach. Some friend, huh.
Berhalter took to Twitter with a lengthy statement:
U.S. Soccer did not receive any details about the claims until Dec. 11, when an executive was informed in a call with Claudio Reyna and his wife, Danielle, that Berhalter, 49, had a past domestic violence incident, sources told ESPN.
That information arrived the same day as comments Berhalter made at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership in New York were published by Charterworks, detailing how “a player” was nearly sent home from the World Cup for not meeting expectations on and off the field.
Danielle Reyna went on to share her own statement, which honestly just made her look infinitely worse. Seriously, give it a read and you’ll see the total lack of awareness of how bad she and her family look here. (Also, I know Berhalter automatically rightfully looks bad, which I continue with down below.)
First of all, this is a total embarrassment. I’m not condoning what Berhalter did in 1991 by any means, but the petulance and immaturity shown by the Reyna family in this situation is something you’d expect from youth travel team parents, not some of the biggest names in American soccer.
Danielle’s admitted vindictiveness really puts the nail in the coffin for me. Berhalter’s past abuse wasn’t something that deeply bothered her and ate away at her until she finally needed to share it.
No. Instead, she and her husband did this over Gio Reyna’s lack of playing time. There’s nothing ethical about her coming forward and zero potential claim of genuinely supporting victims of domestic violence. Using your former teammate and current best friend being abused 30 years ago for personal gain is something I just can’t accept as normal human behavior.
The worst part is that this will follow Gio Reyna for the rest of his career. I will forever see him as “the little baby that needed mommy and daddy to get his coach fired because his piss poor attitude got him benched.”
The only way that changes is if he had zero knowledge of this at all, and I don’t know if I’ll ever believe that.
THAT BEING SAID… This is exactly what U.S. Soccer needed.
My reasoning is twofold. First, it got Berhalter out, who most fans wanted gone because he just isn’t that good a manager. Second, however, is the big reason I see this as a positive.
Only major soccer countries have scandals like this. Just look at the French national team, who has dealt with sending players home from the 2010 tournament and a sex-tape blackmail scandal between teammates.
Of course, they were triumphant in 2018, making the Final in 2022. See where I’m going here?
It’s also exposed the weird relationships of U.S. Soccer which has been an exceedingly small world until very recently. The Reynas and Berhalters are like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts of the American game. The public outcry shows that that type of shit just can’t fly anymore
The biggest disappointment in all of this is Gio Reyna. Again, I don’t know what he knew, but it’s hard to ignore his role in this scenario.
We will see if any more Gio Reyna news comes out. Personally, I hope this story dies soon and we find a special replacement that can keep these entitled kids in line.
Mandatory Credit: LA Times