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US Soccer needs to clean house

With so much drama coming out around the Reyna and Berhalter families, US Soccer needs a do-over from the ground up before it's too late

Gio Reyna is the most talented player on the current USMNT squad–that’s obvious to see. The son of US soccer legends Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan, Reyna has been given first-team minutes by Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund since he was seventeen. Before the 2022 World Cup started, many people assumed he would be the key player for the USMNT.

But that didn’t happen. Despite being healthy, he was only used in two out of four games the USMNT played, both times coming off the bench. Reyna played just seven minutes against England and 45 minutes against the Netherlands as the United States bounced out in the knockout stages.

Normally that would be enough to cause an issue with fans, but that’s just where the drama with the country’s best player started.

Berhalter got the ball rolling

After the USMNT got eliminated, head coach Gregg Berhalter appeared at a summit and talked about a player who behaved badly in Qatar and was almost sent home. He didn’t mention any names, but it was later revealed by multiple sources that it was Reyna. 

Chaos ensued after that, as Reyna was being criticized left and right by the fans. He later issued a statement, stating that he did behave badly but apologized to the team, and admitted he was surprised Berhalter and team officials leaked this story publicly.

That’s where the situation should have ended, but it just kept getting worse. On January 3rd, Berhalter created a Twitter account and issued a joint statement with his wife Rosalind. They revealed that he was being blackmailed for a domestic violence incident from 1991, from which the couple recovered and moved on over thirty years later. It felt like a random attack, but just one day later, all the beans were spilled. 

The Reynas’ petty behavior

According to ESPN’s sources, Gio’s mom Danielle was the one who let US Soccer know about the incident on December 11th, while Claudio had been threatening to share that information even before that. All of this reportedly stems from their frustration with how Berhalter treated their son. 

While this may look like an unexplained mess from the outside, it came as no surprise to most people who follow US Soccer. Claudio and Berhalter grew up together in New Jersey and played together on youth teams, in high school, and of course the USMNT. Danielle and Rosalind were also teammates and roommates in college when the incident with Berhalter occurred. As everyone advanced professionally, they all became embedded with US Soccer and have become key figures in the organization. 

The couple then issued their own statement, with Danielle saying she didn’t blackmail or threaten anybody, nor did she want Berhalter fired. She simply called out Berhalter’s hypocrisy by bringing up an incident from when he was Gio’s age. She admitted she didn’t think there was going to be an investigation or that this would go out publicly, and offered her apology. 

But it’s all out now, regardless of intention. And right now there seem to be few adults in the room to clean up this mess. 

US Soccer only has one option

There is no side to choose in this situation–everyone is in the wrong and should be embarrassed for behaving like children. Berhalter should have never let issues with Gio get out publicly, and the elder Reynas shouldn’t have told US Soccer about the 1991 incident–which not only reopened old wounds but also damaged Berhalter’s reputation and future job opportunities.

Another thing to consider: How did US Soccer not know about this incident before? Although it was never alerted to the authorities, Berhalter admitted in his statement that he informed his close friends and family, potentially including his brother Jay Berhalter, a former high-level executive at US Soccer. Did they not know or investigate this incident then?

This situation highlights the nepotism, hypocrisy, and incompetence throughout US Soccer. It needs to be completely demolished and rebuilt from the base. Unless this happens, the sport will waste a massive opportunity to grow in popularity ahead of the 2026 World Cup on home soil. 

No matter what the results of the investigation are, it is time to part ways with Berhalter, abolish the boys club culture, and bring in an outsider who won’t let friendships affect professionalism. It’s time to clean house, and no one should be spared.