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With coach Gregg Berhalter under a microscope, the United States Men’s National Team bowed out of the 2022 World Cup in the round of 16.
While not a total disaster on the field, subsequently revealed off-field problems added to some fans frustrations.
After the result, many speculated if Berhalter would return as manager, something he himself seemed unsure about.
But that story took a surprising turn on Tuesday, as Berhalter and U.S. Soccer revealed that someone had attempted to bring him down by revealing information about his past.
Berhalter got ahead of the investigation by releasing a statement, explaining what happened and why there was an investigation.
Someone apparently contacted U.S. Soccer, with information they claimed would take Berhalter down and permanently sever the relationship.
So he chose to explain the situation and “clearly and directly share the truth,” he said.
Essentially, he admitted that he and his now wife Rosalind, had a heated argument outside of a bar when he was 18, which “became physical.” According to the statement, the only detailed explanation was that he “kicked her in the legs.”
He also explained that he apologized to Rosalind, who eventually forgave him, and the couple has now been married for 25 years.
U.S. Soccer also commented, saying they were contacted about the allegations on December 11th, 2022 and launched an independent investigation.
What Does This Mean for Berhalter’s Future?
While Berhalter acknowledged what happened, U.S. Soccer’s announcement clearly states the investigation is ongoing.
Surprisingly, their statement also said that there’s been “potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members” of their staff by outside individuals.
Until there’s clarification on what that exactly entails, it will provide even more grounds for speculation.
Assuming Berhalter’s account is accurate, it would be difficult to assume this would disqualify him from further employment with U.S. Soccer.
Obviously any domestic violence is unacceptable, but this doesn’t seem to rise to quite that level. While certainly an inexcusable mistake, he took ownership of it.
Punishing someone for events that took place 30+ years ago when they were 18 years old is also a difficult standard to maintain.
As he said, “a single bad decision made by a teenager” doesn’t necessarily define the rest of their life.
There may be legitimate on-field reasons for U.S. Soccer to move on to a different coach, but assuming the investigation confirms his story, this shouldn’t be one of them.
Still, it’s a disappointing end to a World Cup cycle that provided plenty of reasons for optimism. Player development, advancing to the knockout stages, and increasing club attention on team members showed the U.S. is heading in the right direction.
U.S. Soccer said they will release the results of the investigation when it’s concluded, so until then, it’s likely that team leadership will be up in the air.