The mother of United States men's national team star Gio Reyna admitted to alerting U.S. Soccer to an act of domestic violence committed by USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter in the early 1990s.
"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," Danielle Reyna said, per Fox Sports' Doug McIntyre.
She also told The Athletic's Paul Tenorio she reached out to U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart in mid-December, "just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference":
"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."
McIntyre shared her full statement:
Jeff Carlisle and Kyle Bonagura of ESPN also reported that Reyna's father Claudio "sent multiple messages to U.S. Soccer executives during the World Cup threatening to reveal sensitive details" about Berhalter's past. Those messages began after Giovanni was told he would have a "limited role" at the World Cup.
"The messages began after his son, Gio Reyna, was informed he would have a limited role at the tournament," per Carlisle and Bonagura.
Claudio Reyna said he was "upset by Gregg's comments about Gio after the U.S. was out of the World Cup" and "shared my frustrations about my son's World Cup experience with a number of close friends." He denied, however, sending any threatening messages.
Berhalter published a lengthy statement Tuesday admitting that he had kicked his then-girlfriend Rosalind months after they started dating in the fall of 1991.
Berhalter said he sought out counseling in the aftermath and alerted his family and friends to what had happened. He and Rosalind reconciled and were later married.
"The lessons learned from that night over three decades ago became the foundation for a loving, devoted, and supportive relationship, which we honored and celebrated with our 25th wedding anniversary this past weekend," he said.
Berhalter wrote that somebody had reached out to U.S. Soccer in "an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer."
In conjunction with Berhalter's statement, U.S. Soccer announced it empowered the law firm of Alston & Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into allegations against the coach. The scope of the inquiry then grew.
"Through this process, U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization," the federation said. "We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations."
Gio Reyna's lack of playing time was among the secondary storylines surrounding the United States at the 2022 World Cup as the team was knocked out in the round of 16. He made two appearances and logged 53 total minutes on the pitch in Qatar, which came as a surprise since the 20-year-old is widely considered one of the most promising young talents on the national team.
After the USMNT's tournament ended, Berhalter appeared at a leadership summit, where he divulged there was a player within the squad who "was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field," and he and his staff contemplated sending the player home. Those comments ended up getting published in a Charterworks briefing.
It came out that Gio Reyna was the player in question.
In an Instagram post, Reyna said he was "devastated" upon learning he was going to have a "limited" role at the World Cup. He said he "let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role" and apologized to Berhalter and his teammates.
Berhalter no longer appears to be in charge of the men's national team. His contract expired at the end of 2022, and Stewart announced Wednesday that Anthony Hudson will run the squad's upcoming training camp.