‘My heart aches for my wife’: Gregg Berhalter breaks silence after admitting to kicking wife in 1991
WASHINGTON, DC: American soccer coach Gregg Berhalter expressed his dejection after disclosing a domestic violence incident that took place three decades ago as he gave his first interview since his shocking statement and the Reyna family revealed the story to US Soccer. Earlier this week, Berhalter said in a statement that he was targeted by a third party who vowed to 'take him down' as he confessed to kicking his own wife when he was just 18 years old.
After the 49-year-old recounted at a leadership conference how an unnamed player, later confirmed as Gio Reyna, was sent home from Qatar due to not 'meeting expectations', Danielle Reyna, the mother of the USA player, admitted to sharing information of the incident on Wednesday, January 4, to the US officials. According to ESPN, the former captain of US national team, Claudio Reyna also threatened to share details of Berhalter's past during the tournament.
The coach now publicly spoke for the first time since the story broke out on Thursday, January 5. "I think it's sadness. Our entire family is saddened by these events. It's something we wanna move forward from," Berhalter, who played youth and high school soccer with Claudio Reyna, told Harvard Business Review on Thursday. "The worst part of it for me is my heart aches for my wife. It was her story to tell."
🎥 Gregg Berhalter speaking on Harvard Business Review. Spoke on the current situation and how he hopes to continue as USMNT coach: pic.twitter.com/s9xnlB1H8p— 🇺🇸 USMNT vs Haters (@USMNTvsHaters) January 5, 2023
During the half-an-hour chat, Berhalter also said that he would like to hold his position as the coach after his team was eliminated from the tournament in the round of 16 in Qatar. "It's a fantastic group of players, super high potential in this group... it would be an amazing challenge for this team [competing in the 2026 World Cup in the US, Mexico and Canada]," he added. His contract expired at the end of last year.
Berhalter termed the situation regarding Reyna in Qatar 'extreme' at the HOW Institute for Society's Summit on Moral Leadership in December. The player later admitted his poor attitude after being told he would play a 'very limited' role at the tournament.
"We're always looking to improve... if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't have told that story", Berhalter said, when asked if he had any regrets with how he handled the Reyna situation, according to Daily Mail. "Trust is something that takes a long time to build but can go away really quickly", he added. "You have to be consistent in who you are, and you have to have clear values. And if you are they can see that. My bond with the players is very strong and its about maintaining that bond. And I think the players and the staff know who I am and what I stand for."
Tony Meola on Gregg Berhalter making #USMNT players stand up one by one to tell Gio Reyna he hasn’t been good enough 🗣️— Anthony (@anthonykyaw) December 23, 2022
“If it were me at 20 years old, I probably would’ve walked out the room.” 😂
[via Soccer America] pic.twitter.com/or0aLRyQWt
Reyna is considered one of the top talents on the national team and was expected to play a crucial role in the World Cup. He plays for the German Champions League club Borussia Dortmund. Unfortunately, he played just 52 minutes and didn't make a single start. "It's about looking those difficult conversations in the face and going through with it," Berhalter said Thursday. "If a player is not starting a game, the last thing a coach should do is avoid telling them why."
The coach ended the interview by telling how he is managing the recent situation. "I have a strong family. I have a very supportive family. To me its about my wife, it about feeling for her," he said. "It's her story, I feel tremendously bad that my profession had to bring this to the public light. We've received a lot of support a lot of great messages from people who have known our family through the years."