The U.S. Soccer Federation finally released the report of its independent investigation into the Reyna-Berhalter scandal on Monday, revealing new details about what was said to have caused the controversy.
Through interviews with people involved and connected to the scandal, the law firm Alston & Bird confirmed that Danielle Reyna — the mother of young U.S. men’s World Cup star Gio Reyna — told then-athletic director Ernie Stewart in a phone call in December 11 that US men’s coach Greg Berhalter “beats the living [expletive] by” his then-girlfriend and future wife Rosalind Santana (now Rosalind Berhalter) in an alcohol-related incident on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The report said Stewart told investigators that Danielle Reyna and her husband, former American star Claudio Reyna, “did not intend to make this information public,” but “they were considering starting to spread the story to others privately.” .
Stewart then told Reynas that he would have to report the information to his colleagues at US Soccer, and told investigators that Reynas “didn’t seem shocked to hear” the news and they “didn’t deny the allegation or ask him not to report it .
Stewart also told investigators that it was his personal belief that “Reina disclosed the allegation to him so that US Soccer would not hire Mr. Berhalter for another term.”
Soon after hanging up, Stewart called US Soccer senior advisor Alison Kokoras. He also reported the incident to CEO JT Batson and Karen Leetzow.
» READ MORE: Claudio and Daniel Reyna, Gio’s parents, admit to leaking incident to US Soccer about Greg Berhalter
Memoirs of Greg Berhalter
When Greg Berhalter spoke with investigators, he confirmed the details of the intimate partner violence incident, as he did in a public statement on Jan. 3. He also said he reported the incident to then-UNC men’s soccer head coach Elmar Bolovich, “sought counseling about the incident and voluntarily decided to perform community service at a women’s correctional facility in Durham.”
Berhalter also acknowledged that many people knew about the incident on the UNC campus at the time.
Rosalind Berhalter further confirmed the incident and reported it to longtime – and still – Tar Heels women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance. She told investigators that since then, “there has not been a single physical fight or any inappropriate contact” with Gregg.
Bolovich told investigators he and Dorrance spoke at the time.
“Dorrance told him that he appreciated that Mr. Berhalter came forward, reported the incident and did not try to cover it up,” investigators wrote, and “Bolowicz told us that the incident did not result in discipline from the coaches, any disciplinary reports to others at UNC or any police report.’
While Dorrance spoke with Bolovich at the time, he declined to be interviewed by investigators.
The report said Dorrance told them that “this is a personal matter that should be resolved within families, without judgment,” that he “wouldn’t contribute anything in the public eye” and that investigators “were not convinced of the need to talk.”
» READ MORE: USMNT manager Greg Berhalter reveals domestic violence incident from his past
Daniel Reyna’s view
Investigators said they made “several attempts” to contact Danielle Reyna before speaking with her on Dec. 29. The report says of these conversations:
At the beginning of the first phone call, Mrs. Reyna made it clear that she did not want to talk to us. We asked her if she and Mr. Reyna had a phone conversation with Mr. Stewart on December 11 at 7:28 p.m. In response, Ms. Reyna told us, “I’m not going to confirm anything.” She said she wouldn’t. intervened because, as he explained, “I cleared my mind.”
Again, we asked Ms. Reyna if she had a phone conversation with Mr. Stewart in December to report on Mr. Berhalter. She told us: “I’m not saying I did that. I’m not saying anything. I’m not going to confirm or deny that I made that statement to Ernie. We asked her if she spoke to Mr Stewart on the phone in December and she said: “I deny that we spoke on the phone.”
We then asked if she denied that she and Mr. Reyna had a phone conversation with Mr. Stewart, and she said, “Yes, I deny all that.” She then told us that she did not speak to Mr. Stewart about nothing; that he did not remember; and that there was nothing else she could share with us. She hung up by telling us she had nothing else to say and that “if you want to hang it up, you can hang it up.” The call ended.
Very soon after the first call ended, Ms. Reyna called back. She began the second call by saying: “I really did,” in reference to the conversation with Mr Stewart. She explained that she had a telephone conversation with Mr. Stewart and told him that “there was an incident that I had to deal with in our first year” involving Mr. and Mrs. Berhalter. We sought details of the incident.
She said: “There was physical self-harm. I wasn’t there I didn’t watch the fight.” She confirmed that the fight was “between Greg and his wife.” When we asked what actually happened, she said, “I didn’t observe it.” She explained that she talked about it with Ms. Berhalter when it happened, “but I don’t know who hit who. I was told there was a fight – that was it.”
Reyna also confirmed that no police report was filed about the incident.
She admitted to investigators that she was “in a very upset state” when she spoke to Stewart because she disagreed with Greg Berhalter’s decision to limit Gio’s playing time at the World Cup last fall.
Investigators then released reports from a source whose name has been redacted to protect that person’s security: Daniel Reyna told the person “something like, ‘After this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and do one interview , and his cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”
This was a reference to elements of Greg Berhalter’s fashion sense and sideways behavior that often went viral on social media during his tenure.
Investigators also said Claudio Reyna told then-US men’s team general manager Brian McBride: “[Y]we don’t even know what we know about Greg.
More details about the investigation
Investigators said Claudio Reyna refused to be questioned. His attorney contacted investigators on Jan. 12 to try to negotiate a deal, but no deal was reached.
Investigators interviewed numerous other members of the Berhalter family, including Greg’s brother Jay, the former chief commercial officer of US Soccer. Jay was involved in the hiring of Stewart, who hired Berhalter — and US Soccer has long said that Jay was not involved in hiring Gregg.
Jay Berhalter told investigators that Gregg called him the day after the 1992 incident. As far as anyone outside the investigation could tell, the incident was never mentioned when Gregg Berhalter was interviewed for the U.S. manager job.
Investigators said Gregg Berhalter went through two background checks: one in 2018 when he was a candidate for hire and another in 2020 for U.S. Soccer rules requiring background checks on “all covered persons” under US Olympic and Paralympic Committee policy.
Investigators said those checks “have a lifetime range for reported crimes and crimes involving sexual activity or injury to minors, and a range of seven to 10 years for misdemeanors.”
They also said Berhalter completed “voluntary disclosure questionnaires” regarding any past felony convictions or charges, “convictions or pending charges for “any lesser offense[s] involving force or threat of force against a person” and “convictions or pending charges ‘of a lesser offense involving injury to a minor.’
Berhalter answered “no” to all of them, and because there were no charges, investigators said “we have no reason to believe that Mr. Berhalter’s answers were inaccurate, incomplete or untrue.”
Investigators added that the statute of limitations in North Carolina for such crimes is two years.
US Soccer’s reaction
A spokesperson for US Soccer told The Inquirer that Jay Berhalter also was not required to disclose the old incident at the time Gregg was hired.
Although investigators concluded the 1992 incident was “illegal and improper,” they say Greg Berhalter did not violate any U.S. Soccer policies and said Stewart “fulfilled his reporting obligation” after heard about the incident.
US Soccer said in a statement that the investigation “identified the need to review US Soccer’s policies regarding appropriate parental conduct and communication with personnel at the national team level. We will update these policies as we continue to work to provide a safe environment for all participants in our game.”
Stewart retired from US Soccer on February 15 to return to the Netherlands, where his family is based, to become director of football at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. The process to hire his successor is ongoing, and that person will hire Berhalter’s successor as USA manager heading into the 2026 World Cup on home soil.
Berhalter’s contract expires at the end of 2022 and he is not currently employed by US Soccer. But he “remains a candidate” to get the job again, the governing body said, “given the investigators’ conclusion that there is no legal bar to his being hired.”
» READ MORE: With USMNT coaching contract in the balance, Greg Berhalter talks Reyna situation, investigation