Gio Reyna’s mum leaked Berhalter 'violence' incident after son's World Cup snub

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Gregg Berhalter admitted he kicked his wife in the legs 31 years ago
Gregg Berhalter admitted he kicked his wife in the legs 31 years ago

Giovanni Reyna's mother reported Gregg Berhalter's domestic violence incident to US Soccer after the Borussia Dortmund player was informed he would have a limited role at the Qatar World Cup.

Berhalter confirmed on Tuesday that he had been the subject of a blackmailing attempt, and released a statement with his wife, admitting to his actions 31 years ago. He admitted he kicked his wife in the legs after a heated argument outside a bar when he was 18.

The pair broke up for a while before reconciling a few months later. Danielle Reyna, Giovanni's mother, was friends with Berhalter's wife and admitted on Wednesday that she contacted US Soccer officials after the head coach discussed Reyna's limited World Cup role at a press conference.

She wrote: "To set the record straight, I did call (U.S. Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference. I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him 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.

"As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that 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. Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question.

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"Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life. I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard.”

Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Reyna was informed he would have a limited role at the World Cup shortly before the tournament began, and admitted in an Instagram post that he had let the decision impact his approach to the tournament and training, all-but confirming he was the player Berhalter had hinted he nearly sent home due to disciplinary issues. The player's mother admitted she contacted US Soccer in retaliation.

Gio Reyna’s mum leaked Berhalter 'violence' incident after son's World Cup snubGiovanni Reyna barely featured at the World Cup much to USMNT fans' dismay (Getty Images)

She continued: "At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation. I’m not criticizing Earnie here. I very much commend the recent efforts by U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared.

"But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff—I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all. I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.”

The head coach's contract with U.S Soccer expired on December 31 2022, and it was later announced that an internal investigation was underway before any decision is made on his future. According to ESPN, Reyna sent multiple messages to U.S Soccer executives during the World Cup threatening to release the information about Berhalter.

Gio Reyna’s mum leaked Berhalter 'violence' incident after son's World Cup snubGiovanni Reyna had a limited role at the Qatar World Cup

In his statement released on Wednesday, Berhalter did not name the person who had contacted US Soccer, but insisted he wanted to tell the story himself to take ownership of his actions.

He wrote: "During the World Cup, an individual contacted U.S Soccer saying they had information about me 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. This is a difficult step to take, but my wife, Rosalind, and I want to clearly and directly share the truth. This is a story that belongs to us, but hopefully there are lessons that can be valuable to others.

"In the fall of 1991, I met my soulmate. I had just turned 18 and was a freshman in college when I met Rosalind for the first time. There was a familiar feeling when we spoke. Rosalind was and is an amazing person - determined, empathetic, fun to be around - and we connected immediately.

Gio Reyna’s mum leaked Berhalter 'violence' incident after son's World Cup snubClaudio Reyna has released a statement

"It felt like we had known each other for years. We had been dating for four months when an incident happened between us that would shape the future of our relationship. One night, while out drinking at a local bar, Rosalind and I 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. At the time, I immediately apologised to Rosalind, but understandably, she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, family and friends what happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behaviour.

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"Rosalind also informed her parents, family and friends. While the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought out counselling to help learn, grow and improve - one of the most valuable decisions that I ever made. To this day, that type of behaviour has never been repeated."

Daniel Blackham

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