Giovanni Reyna’s mother has admitted to leaking information about USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter’s domestic violence incident after being left furious by the Borussia Dortmund wonderkid’s snub at the World Cup.
Berhalter admitted on Tuesday that he had kicked his wife in the legs during a heated argument outside a bar in 1991, when he was 18 and had been dating his now-wife for a few months. The couple broke up, only to reconcile months later and marry in 1997.
The head coach insisted he had come forward with the story in response to an alleged blackmail attempt during the tournament, claiming someone had contacted US Soccer with the information.
Danielle Reyna has now admitted she contacted US Soccer, but is adamant she did not try to threaten Berhalter or ask for him to be fired.
In a statement released on Wednesday, she admitted to contacting US Soccer sporting director Earnie Steward in response to her son being sidelined at the World Cup. Reyna played a limited role and was almost sent home from Qatar due to a lack of effort in training, and the player’s mother has admitted she was left “betrayed” by the backlash against him.
In a statement, she wrote: “To set the record straight, I did call (U.S. Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference.
“I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades.
“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. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life. I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard.”
She continued: “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, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff—I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all. I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.”