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The Gregg Berhalter saga just took an incredibly juicy turn.
News broke on Tuesday that Berhalter had been under investigation by US Soccer since December 11th.
Both his statement and US Soccer’s revealed that someone outside the team had threatened to go public with information about a past domestic violence incident and derail his future with the team.
Now, we might have an answer as to who was blackmailing him.
ESPN reported that the person responsible for alerting executives to the Berhalter incident was none other than Claudio Reyna.
Claudio Reyna is, of course, the father of current USMNT star Gio Reyna. Reyna also is a former teammate of Berhalter’s, making this all the more fascinating.
Gio came into the tournament with some health concerns, but as unquestionably one of the team’s most talented players.
The Borussia Dortmund winger was expected to play a significant role as the USMNT tried to advance out of a tricky group. But he didn’t see the field in the team’s first game against Wales, and then barely played against England.
Fans at the time were equal parts stunned and frustrated that Reyna didn’t see more of the field. Berhalter explained his absence by saying it was due to fitness concerns, but another former USMNT star accused him of lying about it during an in-tournament interview.
Berhalter-Reyna Drama Continues
After the tournament, Berhalter essentially broke the news that the real explanation was poor effort and attitude on Reyna’s part.
While intriguing to have a more realistic explanation, it was extremely confusing that he essentially went public about it.
And Wednesday’s news makes a lot more sense with that in mind.
According to ESPN, Claudio Reyna and his wife had a call with a U.S. Soccer executive on December 11th about the incident in Berhalter’s past.
“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 said.
That was the same day Berhalter went public with his thinly-veiled criticisms about Gio Reyna.
Remarkably, beyond Claudio and Gregg’s lengthy stint as teammates, their wives also played together in college.
Not too long ago, Berhalter described his relationship with Gio as that of a “family member.”
“Our families are very close. Very good friends and in Gio there are moments where I look at him and — putting him on the field or something. It’s so familiar. You’re looking at something that is so familiar to you and that’s such a great feeling. It’s almost like you’re putting a family member in the game. That’s been really fun.”
Claudio also issued a statement confirming that he and his wife did speak to the US Soccer executives.
What a wild turn of events.
What’s Berhalter’s Future?
Despite the close relationship between the two families, it certainly seems like Gio’s parents were so frustrated with the lack of playing time, they turned to blackmail.
It’s understandable to an extent, seeing as World Cup opportunities don’t come around too often throughout a player’s career.
But then again, threatening to expose private details about a friend’s personal life to hurt their career is undeniably bad form.
US Soccer now has a significant problem on its hands, both between the Berhalter investigation and the potential future relationship between him and Gio.
Reyna is undoubtedly one of the best options in the USMNT player pool, and likely will be for the foreseeable future, especially the 2026 home World Cup.
But it’s now hard to see how he and Berhalter ever work together professionally again, after Berhalter’s public comments and his parents actions.
While this is already a ton of new information, it seems like there will be even more to emerge about this going forward.