Home » A timeline of the Reyna-Berhalter scandal that rocked U.S. soccer

A timeline of the Reyna-Berhalter scandal that rocked U.S. soccer

Claudio Reyna (center) and Gregg Berhalter (to his right) have been friends since childhood, and were teammates on the U.S. men’s national team in the 90s and 2000s.Read moreAnonymous / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Now that the U.S. Soccer Federation has published the results of an independent investigation into the Reyna-Berhalter scandal, we can take a clear view at everything that happened.

Here’s a timeline explaining what’s been reported by The Inquirer and other outlets, and said by prominent figures over the last few months.

» READ MORE: U.S. Soccer investigation shows Claudio Reyna’s history of interference and complaints over Gio Reyna

The background

Click below to expand this section and learn the backgrounds of the key people in the scandal.

Claudio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter grew up together in northern New Jersey, playing for the same youth club and high school. Reyna was the best man in Berhalter’s wedding.

Reyna, Berhalter, Earnie Stewart and Brian McBride played together on the U.S. national team for many years. In 2002, they helped the U.S. reach the quarterfinals of a men’s World Cup for the first time since 1930.

Danielle Reyna, née Egan, was college teammates and roommates at the University of North Carolina with Rosalind Berhalter, née Santana. They played for the Tar Heels from 1991-94, when the team was in the midst of winning nine straight national championships. Egan was a two-time all-American, and earned six caps for the U.S. women’s national team.

In early-summer 1994, Claudio Reyna met Danielle Egan when the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams were staying in the same hotel in southern California. Claudio had just started his pro career, and was named to that year’s World Cup squad. On June 8, he suffered a torn hamstring that put him out of the tournament before it started.

Reyna and Egan married in 1997, and had four children. Gio was second. In 2012, their oldest son, Jack, died of cancer at age 13.

Gregg Berhalter and Rosalind Santana started dating as freshmen at UNC. Four months into their relationship, they got in an argument at a nightclub. She pushed him, then he pushed her to the ground and kickd her twice in the upper leg. A bystander tackled him to prevent any further incidents. Rosalind broke up with Gregg. They both reported the incident to their respective soccer coaches. No police report was filed, nor was a report made to the university disciiplinary system. But the incident became well-known on campus.

Seven months later, Rosalind reached back out. They got back together. In 1999, they married each other. They’ve stayed married since, and have four children.

In August 2018, U.S. Soccer hired Stewart, at the time the Union’s sporting director, to be the men’s national team general manager. Gregg’s brother Jay, U.S. Soccer’s chief commercial officer at the time, was involved in Stewart’s hiring. So was then-president Carlos Cordeiro.

In December 2018, Stewart led the hiring of Gregg Berhalter as the U.S. men’s national team’s manager. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson told The Inquirer at the time that Jay Berhalter was not directly involved.

In August 2019, Stewart was promoted to sporting director when Kate Markgraf was hired to be the U.S. women’s team GM

In November 2019, future MLS expansion team Austin FC hired Claudio Reyna from New York City FC to be its sporting director, ahead of launching in 2021. Gio Reyna played in NYCFC’s youth academy before joining Germany’s Borussia Dortmund in July 2019.

In March 2020, Cindy Parlow Cone became president of U.S. Soccer when Cordeiro resigned after U.S. Soccer lawyers used sexist language in a filing in the women’s team’s equal pay lawsuit. Cone had been U.S. Soccer’s vice president.

Also in 2020, Gregg and Rosalind’s only son, Sebastian, began his pro soccer career in Columbus. He grew up in the Crew’s youth academy and played college soccer at North Carolina.

In early 2021, Claudio Reyna’s Austin acquired Sebastian Berhalter on a year-long loan. After the loan ended, Columbus sold Berhalter to the Vancouver Whitecaps, where he remains.

In September 2022, Cone hired JT Batson to be U.S. Soccer’s latest CEO.

November 17, 2022

In the days before the World Cup, young U.S. star Gio Reyna wasn’t working hard in practice. The Athletic reported after the World Cup that in a Nov. 17 warmup scrimmage against Qatari team Al Gharafa, “Reyna’s lack of intensity in the scrimmage — sources described him walking around throughout his time on the field during what was otherwise an intense session — caused significant frustration within the team.”

Reyna had recently returned from a muscle injury suffered in late September, one of many such injuries in his career so far.

Earnie Stewart subsequently confirmed to U.S. Soccer’s investigation that, as the report said: “coaches had concerns about Gio Reyna’s level of fitness for the first game because he was recovering from an injury. In addition, Mr. Stewart told us that Gio Reyna’s performance was poor during a scrimmage game because he ‘walk[ed] around, and mope[d] around the whole time.’ Mr. Stewart said although it looked like he might still be injured, he mostly ‘seemed ticked off’ and ‘did not appear to be trying at all.’”

The report also said Stewart relayed that “players were required to do sprints on training days after a scrimmage,” and he said “other guys were busting their tails doing the sprints” while “Gio didn’t do anything.”

Nov. 21

The U.S. played Wales to a 1-1 tie in its World Cup opener, with Gareth Bale tying the game on a late penalty kick. Reyna did not play. Gregg Berhalter sent in Jordan Morris for a late-game sub instead, six minutes after Bale’s equalizer.

Berhalter’s decision raised eyebrows. Even with Reyna’s injury history, he had had more talent and pedigree than the Seattle Sounders’ Morris.

The Athletic reported that “Reyna threw his shin guards after not being subbed in.”

After the game, Berhalter said holding Reyna out was “precautionary,” and that “in the phase of the game we were at, we went with Jordan who we felt could give us speed and power.”

Reyna said it was Berhalter’s decision, and that while he “definitely felt 100% going into today,” he had felt “a little bit of tightness over the last few days.”

The investigation revealed that Claudio and Danielle Reyna attended the game as part of U.S. Soccer’s friends and family delegation, riding a bus to the stadium with the Berhalters. The families were assigned together by a U.S. Soccer staffer who knew of their longtime connections.

After the game, Danielle Reyna refused to take that same bus back. She was heard saying: “I don’t think you understand. I’m not getting back on that bus” (emphasis added by the investigation report). The Reynas took a different bus back instead, in view of other members of the delegation.

Gregg Berhalter later told the investigation that before that night, Rosalind Berhalter and Danielle Reyna “had talked every day for decades. And it ended immediately.” Indeed, he said, in the stands after the game the two women “didn’t speak.”

He also told the investigators: “There were 150 people in the Friends and Family program at this year’s World Cup. All were having a great time – except for five people who were absolutely miserable. Those five were cursing, acting horribly. It was the Reynas.”

» READ MORE: The Inquirer’s soccer staff debates who should be the next USMNT manager

Stewart told investigators that after the game, he got a text message from Claudio Reyna that read: “What a complete and utter [expletive] joke. Our family is disgusted in case you are wondering. Disgusted at how a coach is allowed to never be challenged and do whatever he wants.”

Reyna also texted McBride, and he shared this message with investigators: “Our entire family is disgusted, angry, and done with you guys. Don’t expect nice comments from anyone in our family about US Soccer. I’m being transparent to you not like the political clown show of the federation.”

Nov. 22

At a lunch for the friends and family group, Danielle Reyna approached a source who spoke to the investigation, intending to explain what happened the night before. The source excused her behavior, but Reyna continued: “No, it’s so much more than that. You’re talking about 40 years of history between us, for something like this to happen.”

The source recalled Reyna then saying something close to: “Once this tournament is over, I can make one phone call and give one interview, and his cool sneakers and bounce passes will be gone.”

That was a reference to elements of Gregg Berhalter’s fashion sense and sideline demeanor, which often went viral on social media during his tenure.

Nov. 22-24

In a subsequent practice, the Athletic said, “Reyna’s lack of effort continued again. It prompted several veteran players to speak with Reyna, including DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, who pulled him aside and urged him to show more effort moving forward.”

U.S. coaches were also still annoyed. After conversations, Reyna apologized to the team in a meeting. When he was done, the Athletic said, “several players on the team spoke up to hold Reyna accountable for his actions.”

Nov. 24

On the eve of the big U.S.-England game — coincidentally Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. — McBride and Stewart met with the Reynas.

The investigation report said: “Mr. McBride commented that such a meeting would not typically occur with parents of players, but they agreed to it as a courtesy to Mr. Reyna given their long friendship and history as former teammates. Mr. McBride informed us that, during the meeting, Mr. Reyna stated, ‘[Y]ou guys don’t even know what we know about Gregg,’ but offered no additional details.”

Nov. 25

Reyna played the last seven minutes off the bench in the U.S.’s 0-0 tie with England.

Nov. 29

In the U.S.’ 1-0 win over Iran that clinched qualification to the round of 16, Reyna did not play. Video of the team arriving back to its hotel showed most players celebrating their advancement, while Reyna appeared subdued.

» READ MORE: Christian Pulisic and a whole lot of defense give USMNT a dramatic 1-0 World Cup win over Iran

Some time during the group stage

Claudio Reyna contacted Stewart and McBride to complain about his son’s lack of playing time.

December 3

The U.S. faced the Netherlands in the round of 16, and trailed 2-0 at halftime. Berhalter sent Reyna in for the second half. The elimination game ended as a 3-1 U.S. loss.

Dec. 6

Back in the U.S., Berhalter spoke to a corporate leadership summit in New York that was meant to be off the record.

“In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field,” he said. “We were ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was.”

Berhalter didn’t name the player.

» READ MORE: DaMarcus Beasley calls for Gregg Berhalter’s exit from U.S. men’s national team

December 11

The Charterworks newsletter published Berhalter’s remarks, later adding an editorial note that they “were erroneously greenlit for publication by someone representing the event organizers.”

That sparked criticism of Berhalter – for speaking about the situation at all and for assuming his remarks would stay off the record.

The disciplinary action itself was less surprising, as the coach had a history of not letting player misbehavior slide, suspending even regular starters who broke rules.

Soon after the newsletter revealed Berhalter’s statements, a reporter for Major League Soccer’s website named Reyna as the perviously unnamed problematic player. Then the Athletic revealed its details of Reyna’s “alarming lack of effort” in Qatar.

Claudio Reyna was so upset that he texted Earnie Stewart to complain. Stewart then called Reyna and spoke with him and Danielle for an hour.

During that conversation, Danielle Reyna said: “Gregg beat the living [expletive] out of” Rosalind in a “back alleyway” near the bar where they had been drinking. Reyna also said the incident became widely-known on campus, though no police report was ever filed.

Danielle Reyna was so upset that she called Stewart and told him of Berhalter’s decades-old incident with Rosalind. Stewart notified his colleagues at U.S. Soccer. They quickly hired outside lawyers for an investigation.

» READ MORE: United States to host 2024 Copa América soccer tournament

December 12

Gio Reyna posted a statement on Instagram.

“Just before the World Cup, Coach Berhalter told me that my role at the tournament would be very limited. I was devastated,” he wrote. “I fully expected and desperately wanted to contribute to the play of a talented group as we tried to make a statement at the World Cup. I am also a very emotional person, and I fully acknowledge that I let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role.”

Reyna said he “apologized to my teammates and coach for this, and I was told I was forgiven. Thereafter, I shook off my disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the field.”

Dec. 20

The investigators hired by U.S. Soccer interviewed Gregg Berhalter.

Dec. 21

The investigators interviewed Rosalind Berhalter.

Dec. 29

The investigators had “two brief calls” with Danielle Reyna, their report said, after “several attempts” to speak with her were unsuccessful.

“At the start of the first phone conversation, Mrs. Reyna made clear that she did not want to speak with us,” their report said. “We asked her if she and Mr. Reyna had a phone conversation with Mr. Stewart on December 11th at 7:28 p.m. In response, Mrs. Reyna told us, ‘I will not confirm anything.’ She said she would not get involved because, as she explained, ‘I have cleaned my mind.’”

Asked again if that phone call happened, Reyna answered: “I’m not saying I did that. I am not saying anything. I won’t confirm or deny that I made that allegation to Earnie,” and subsequently further said: “I deny we were on a phone call. … Yes, I am denying this whole thing. … If you want to close it, you can close it.”

A few minutes after the call ended, Reyna called the investigators back and admitted, “I did say it.”

Reyna said “There was a physical fight. I wasn’t there. I didn’t observe the fight,” and confirmed the fight was “between Gregg and his wife.”

The investigation report then said: “When we asked what actually happened, she said, ‘I didn’t observe it.’ She explained that she had talked about it with Mrs. Berhalter when it happened, ‘but I don’t know who hit whom. I was told there was a fight – that was it.’”

Dec. 31

Berhalter and McBride’s contracts expired. McBride agreed with U.S. Soccer leadership to stay on through January to help a transition.

January 3, 2023

Gregg and Rosalind Berhalter issued a statement on Twitter revealing the domestic violence incident, and said there was a reason they did so.

“During the World Cup, an individual contacted U.S. Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would ‘take me down’,” Gregg said, “an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer.”

U.S. Soccer issued a statement minutes later that included the first acknowledgment of the investigation that started on Dec. 11.

“Through this process, U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization,” it said. “We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations.”

» READ MORE: USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter discloses domestic violence incident from his past

Jan. 4

Claudio and Danielle Reyna went public with their viewpoints.

“While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them,” Claudio said in a statement to ESPN. “However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so.”

The same ESPN report said Claudio Reyna in fact did make threats, though it didn’t specify their nature.

Danielle’s statement detailed the emotions behind her remarks to Stewart, and it became clear that she spoke — to Stewart and the world — without Rosalind Berhalter’s consent.

“It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg,” Danielle said, “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.”

She also said he expected her complaint to Stewart to “remain in confidence.” Only later did she realize it couldn’t.

“It didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation,” she said. “I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared.”

She also said the Berhalters’ public statement “significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question.” The investigation’s details would not be published for two more months.

Reyna apologized for her role in the scandal, but did not apologize to Rosalind Berhalter by name.

U.S. Soccer held a news conference that afternoon. When The Inquirer asked Stewart how he reacted to Reyna’s messages, he didn’t answer directly.

When Cone was asked how long the investigation will go on for, she said: “We don’t know, because it is completely independent and we want them to follow the facts wherever they lead. But obviously we need to speed this along.”

When Batson was asked if he’d be comfortable with Gregg Berhalter continuing as coach, he said Berhalter was “one of the candidates being considered … and we have agreed that we need to let the investigation play out before we can make any determinations there.”

» READ MORE: Claudio and Danielle Reyna, Gio’s parents, admit to disclosing incident to U.S. Soccer concerning Gregg Berhalter

Jan. 5

Gregg Berhalter told the Harvard Business Review he regretted his criticism of Reyna at the December conference.

“If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have told that story,” he said.

He added, “the worst part of it for me is my heart aches for my wife, because it was her story to tell, if she chose to or not.”

And for the first time, he said “of course I’d like to continue in my role.”

» READ MORE: Highlights of Gregg Berhalter’s remarks to the Harvard Business Review

Jan. 6

The investigators interviewed former UNC men’s soccer coach Elmar Bolowich, who was Berhalter’s college coach. He shared many of memories of the 1992 incident.

The investigation report said that longtime UNC women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance “in the most cordial way, declined to answer any questions” about the incident.

“He told us that ‘this issue is a personal one that should be resolved within the families, without judgment’; that he ‘won’t contribute to something in the public eye’; and that ‘we did not convince him of the need for the conversation,’” the report said.

It also noted that because Dorrance declined to be interviewed, the investigators had no explanation of why he didn’t report the incident when it happened.

Jan. 10

The investigators interviewed Dolores Berhalter, Gregg’s mother, and she shared her memories.

Jan. 12

Claudio Reyna’s attorney contacted the investigators after they had repeatedly tried to interview him. The two sides attempted to negotiate a deal, but did not succeed.

Fox Sports reported claims by multiple unnamed sources that during the 2019 under-17 World Cup, Claudio Reyna “tried to influence then-U.S. under-17 coach Raphaël Wicky over his handling of Gio.”

By this point, multiple sources had also told The Inquirer that Gio had a history of not giving full efforts in youth practices and games on U.S. soil. No such reports have emerged from Germany, where he competes with elite professionals on one of the world’s most famous teams.

The investigation confirmed the Fox report and added more details, given by sources who were granted anonymity to protect their security.

“Mr. Stewart informed us that Mr. Reyna began making complaints to him in November 2019 during the FIFA U-17 World Cup,” the investigation report said. “He said the complaints were about Gio Reyna’s lack of playing time, inadequate travel arrangements (specifically, not flying business class), and other instances when U.S. Soccer did not meet Mr. Reyna’s standards. Mr. Stewart also provided contemporaneous text messages from this period. Mr. Stewart commented that in his more than 20 years “in this business,” he has never had these types of discussions with other players’ parents.”

Berhalter said Reyna also texted him at that time, calling Wicky “the worst coach.” Berhalter told the investigators that “when things don’t go great for Gio, [the Reynas] pivot and go into attack mode.”

The report said: “Mr. Berhalter said that what occurred at the 2022 FIFA World Cup was similar to what occurred at the U-17 World Cup. Mr. Berhalter provided text messages to us that he received from Mr. Reyna in 2019 and 2020 complaining about Gio Reyna’s treatment, travel arrangements, and coaches.”

A separate source told the investigtion that “Mr. Reyna expected Gio Reyna to be treated better than other players.”

The report noted that in February 2016, Claudio Reyna “contacted a U.S. Soccer official” to get a red card given to Gio in a game overturned.

It also said that in July 2018, Claudio complained in an email about a female official working a game Gio played in: “And in all honest [sic] can we get real and have male refs for a game like this. Its embarrassing guys. What are we trying to prove? A game like this deserves bett[e]r attention.”

And McBride told the investigators that he began getting complaints from Claudio about Gio’s playing time “when he assumed the General Manager role in January 2020.”

Jan. 19

The investigators interviewed Jay Berhalter. He confirmed he knew about the incident at the time it happened. The investigators’ report showed that the incident did not come up during Gregg Berhalter’s interview process to become the U.S. men’s team’s manager, nor was he required to disclose it. A U.S. Soccer spokesperson told The Inquirer after the report was published that Jay Berhalter was not required to disclose it either, and did not do so.

Jan. 20

In the public session of a U.S. Soccer board meeting, Cone said the outside investigation of the scandal “should be completed in the coming weeks.”

In the private executive session, Stewart said McBride was leaving.

The investigators interviewed Annette Kelly, Gregg Berhalter’s older sister. She provided some memories, though she admitted she didn’t have many to offer.

» READ MORE: Cindy Cone says U.S. Soccer’s Reyna-Berhalter investigation should finish in ‘the coming weeks’

Jan. 21

Multiple media outlets reported McBride’s departure, but it was not formally announced. It was widely portrayed as a dismissal, which turned out to be incorrect.

Jan. 22

In Dortmund’s first league game after the World Cup, Gio Reyna subbed in and scored the winning goal. He celebrated by making a talking gesture, then putting his fingers in his ears.

Jan. 24

As Sebastian Berhalter began his second season in Vancouver, sporting director Axel Schuster told The Inquirer that Gregg “has never spoken to us about any matters relating to his son.”

Jan. 25

Reyna, again a substitute, scored another headline-grabbing goal for Dortmund.

In one of few public player reactions to the entire scandal, U.S. World Cup team forward Jesús Ferreira told ESPN: “It was obviously upsetting, the way it came out.”

» READ MORE: United States to host 2024 Copa América soccer tournament

Jan. 26

U.S. Soccer announced the departures of McBride and Stewart. Both men and Cone said the departures were voluntary. Batson said the scandal had “no impact whatsoever” on the departures.

Months after it was first reported, U.S. Soccer confirmed for the first time that last summer, Stewart’s contract was extended through 2026.

McBride said in a statement that he had decided in October to leave after his contract term, but wanted to keep it quiet until after the World Cup. He also said he’d been interested in a different job with U.S. Soccer that was under discussion to be created, but never was.

“While we certainly didn’t plan it this way, this presents us with a great opportunity,” Cone said, calling the moment “a clean canvas.”

While Cone said Berhalter “remains a candidate” to get his job back, a U.S. Soccer spokesperson told The Inquirer that Berhalter is not currently an employee there.

Austin FC announced that Claudio Reyna “resigned” as sporting director and “transitioned into a technical advisor role.”

» READ MORE: Earnie Stewart and Brian McBride leave U.S. Soccer, giving the men’s national team a ‘clean canvas’

February 15

This was Stewart’s last day with U.S. Soccer. His new job is director of football at PSV Eindhoven, a big team in the Netherlands, where he was born to an American serviceman. Stewart’s family stayed in the Netherlands throughout his time with the U.S. program.

Before he left, Stewart recommended Union sporting director Ernst Tanner as a replacement candidate for the USSF role, but Tanner declined to interview for the post. He was also not the only potential candidate to turn down overtures from Sportsology, the search firm tasked to find replacements for Stewart and McBride.

On the same day, interim U.S. men’s team manager Anthony Hudson was in Dortmund to attend the team’s Champions League round of 16 opening game against Chelsea. He met with Reyna while in town.

“I think it was important for whoever is in this role, whether it’s me or someone else, the important thing now is to go and address the situation in Germany,” Hudson told The Athletic. “It would be negligent of anyone who is in this role not to go and do that because he’s an important player and we need to find a solution. He is a talented, important player, a young player and it needed to be addressed.”

Hudson also said: “I’m not condoning anything that’s happened, but it was more on a human level to go and see how he was, as a young kid who has been through a lot. … And then we spoke a little bit about his situation at the club, we spoke about what this next period looks like, and that was it. We didn’t want to put him under any pressure and just wanted to go and meet with him, see how he was doing and that was it.”

He concluded by saying “the meeting went well. The other stuff is separate from the kid, from the player.”

» READ MORE: Union sporting director Ernst Tanner turned down U.S. Soccer, but it wasn’t an insult

March 2

In the midst of a stretch where Gio Reyna was left on the bench for four straight Dortmund games, manager Edin Terzic told reporters: “Gio has always suffered setbacks. … He was injured once with the national team. He had made a few short appearances, started against Bremen and had no time in the last three games.”

Terzic indicated that Reyna had not earned starting time, saying: “He knows what we expect from him,” the team knows “what he can give us,” and Reyna “has to be diligent and patient.”

March 7

Reyna returned to the field in Dortmund’s Champions League game at Chelsea, coming off the bench after starter Julian Brandt was injured in the opening minutes.

March 13

U.S. Soccer published the investigation report.

“Given the investigators’ conclusion that there is no legal impediment to employing him, Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to serve as head coach of the men’s national team,” an accompanying statement said. “The report also identifies a need to revisit U.S. Soccer’s policies concerning appropriate parental conduct and communications with staff at the national team level. We will be updating those policies as we continue to work to ensure safe environments for all participants in our game.”

» READ MORE: U.S. Soccer investigation reveals Danielle Reyna’s threat to Earnie Stewart on Gregg Berhalter