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The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Friday that it has re-hired Gregg Berhalter as head coach of the United States men’s national team more than five months after his contract expired.
Berhalter’s return as head coach means he’ll have to repair the relationship with midfielder Gio Reyna.
During a press conference on Friday, Berhalter addressed the situation.
“I certainly acknowledge that there’s work to do. Gio is an extremely talented player. I coach Gio like I coach every player,” Berhalter told reporters. “I want to get the best out of him. If we unlock his talents, he’s going to be a game changer for this team.”
He added: “There’s work to do and part of it is working together with Matt [Crocker] and trying to rebuild the relationship that we know will be important moving forward.”
Berhalter had served as head coach of the USMNT since 2018 and coached the Americans to a 2021 Gold Cup title and 2021 Nations League title before a round-of-16 loss to the Netherlands at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Soon after the World Cup, Berhalter’s contract expired and he became embroiled in a dispute with the Reyna family that led to an investigation into a 1992 domestic violence incident involving the USMNT manager and his now-wife, Rosalind.
Reyna’s playing time at the World Cup was a hot topic. He made just two appearances and logged 53 minutes of playing time despite being one of the most talented young players on the roster.
Berhalter addressed Reyna’s lack of playing time at the World Cup during a leadership summit after the tournament. He did not name Reyna specifically, saying that an unnamed player “was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field” and that the USMNT staff contemplated sending that player home.
It later came out that Reyna was the unnamed player in question.
Reyna’s mother, Danielle Reyna, admitted to alerting the USSF to the domestic violence incident involving Berhalter, telling The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio that she did so “just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference.”
Danielle Reyna said in a statement at the time:
“As part of that conversation, I told Earnie [Stewart] 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.”
ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Kyle Bonagura wrote that “multiple sources told ESPN [Claudio Reyna] threatened to share allegations about Berhalter’s past, but Reyna has denied those allegations.”
“The messages from Claudio began after his son, Gio Reyna, was informed he would have a limited role at the tournament.,” according to ESPN.
Amid all of this, Berhalter admitted to kicking his now-wife Rosalind in 1992 while the two were still in college and said he sought counseling in the aftermath.
After an independent investigation of the domestic violence incident, the USSF determined that Berhalter was still eligible to resume as head coach of the USMNT.
Former assistant Anthony Hudson had served as interim manager of the USMNT after Berhalter’s contract expired. However, he left earlier this month to coach Qatari club Al-Markhiya SC and was replaced by B.J. Callaghan.
Callaghan will lead the USMNT in the Nations League final against Canada on Sunday and will also see the club through the Gold Cup. Berhalter, who returns to the helm in September, said he will meet with Reyna some time after the Gold Cup.
“Meeting with me is not a priority right now,” Berhalter said of Reyna. “We will meet before the September window.”