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Gio Reyna’s Parents Told US Soccer About USMNT Manager Gregg Berhalter’s Domestic Violence Incident

Gregg Berhalter, the manager for the United States men’s national team during its run to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup, and U.S. Soccer both released statements on Tuesday afternoon pertaining to an alleged plot to blackmail Berhalter and additional “potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization.” One day later and it was reported that the individuals behind the threats were Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan, the former American soccer players whose son, Giovanni, was the source of consternation in Qatar over his lack of playing time.

Berhalter, who is presently out of contract, created a Twitter account to release a lengthy statement. After commenting on the team’s performance in Qatar, he addressed what he called “an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer.” He went on to explain that this was in reference to an incident from when Berhalter and his now-wife, Rosalind, were students at the University of North Carolina. As he tells it, the pair got into an argument, Berhalter kicked her legs, he underwent counseling, the two reconciled, and have been married with children for 25 years.

In its statement, U.S. Soccer announced an investigation into the matter and condemned “violence of any kind,” but made it a point to indicate Berhalter was not the only one targeted.

Amid the numerous questions that popped up in the aftermath was who, exactly, knew about an incident this personal and had the means to use it as a form of blackmail to keep him from returning to the USMNT? ESPN reported on Wednesday that 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,” while Egan sent a statement to Fox Sports indicating this came in the aftermath of comments Berhalter made about her son after the team’s time at the tournament ended, although she claimed it was not done in an effort to prevent Berhalter from returning as manager.

Claudio Reyna likewise released a statement, saying he would never threaten anyone.

Berhalter and Reyna were high school teammates, while Egan attended North Carolina and was teammates with Rosalind Berhalter, nee Santana, on the Tar Heels’ women’s team. Their son, Gio, is one of the brightest young attacking talents in world football, but struggled to get onto the field for the USMNT in Qatar. While Berhalter and Reyna openly disagreed with one another about whether the Borussia Dortmund wunderkind was healthy enough to shoulder a heavy load at the World Cup, it was later revealed that Reyna’s attitude was not especially well-received in the dressing room, which led to him apologizing to the team.

In all, Reyna played 52 minutes at the World Cup by way of an 8-minute cameo against England and the entire second half of the team’s knockout stage loss to the Netherlands. At one point during the tournament, a former national team player, Eric Wynalda, claimed that Reyna’s lack of playing time was the source of friction within the team and that Berhalter asked Reyna to lie about an injury keeping him sidelined — the latter claim he eventually walked back — before saying that he spent the preceding days consoling Reyna’s father over the situation.