U.S. Soccer has the double duty of making a decision about the future of USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter while also hiring lawyers to investigate a claim by Berhalter that he was a victim of blackmail.
The timing couldn’t be worse.
On December 31, Berhalter’s contract as head coach expired. US Soccer says that “US Soccer will announce in the coming days who will be leading the January men’s national team camp.” With January camp expected to begin next week, the sooner US Soccer makes a decision the better. USMNT has two friendlies scheduled for late January in the team’s first games since the World Cup.
That’s one thing, but the problem is compounded by Gregg Berhalter making a public statement today to disclose an incident of domestic violence that happened 31 years ago. Berhalter brought the subject to light because he said he was threatened with blackmail during the World Cup.
USSF release statement on Gregg Berhalter racketeering claims
After Berhalter made the allegations public, the US Soccer communications team released a press release that lacks a lot of details.
“After US Soccer learned of the allegation against United States men’s team head coach Gregg Berhalter on December 11, 2022, US Soccer immediately hired Alston & Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. The investigation is led by Jenny Kramer, BJay Pak and Chris Marquardt of Alston & Bird LLP and is ongoing.
“Through this process, US Soccer has learned of potential inappropriate conduct toward multiple members of our workforce by individuals outside our organization. We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include these allegations.
“We appreciate Gregg and Rosalind coming forward to talk openly about this incident. In line with our commitment to transparency, we will publicly share the results of the investigation when it is complete. US Soccer condemns any form of violence and takes such allegations very seriously.
“Last month, US Soccer launched a full technical overhaul of our men’s national team program. With the review and investigation underway, US Soccer will announce in the coming days who will be leading the January men’s national team camp. We look forward to building on the performance in Qatar and preparing for the journey to 2026.”
Deciphering the US Soccer press release
Many press releases require a skill to read between the lines to try to determine what they are saying.
For example, the press release references Berhalter as head coach of the U.S. men’s national team even though his contract expired on Dec. 31. Has the deal been extended before an official announcement can be revealed? Or has it been temporarily extended for January’s camp until US Soccer makes a final decision?
The press release from US Soccer also mentions that the organization plans to determine who will lead the January camp. Maybe that’s a hint that it will be a short term deal?
The press release states that US Soccer learned of the blackmail allegation on Dec. 11. Did the incident take place on December 11, more than a week after the US exited the World Cup against the Netherlands on December 3? Or has he delayed sharing the reveal with US Soccer?
Also, does Berhalter’s performance at the Summit on Moral Leadership at the HOW Institute for Society on December 6 have any relevance to the timeline? At the New York City event, Berhalter aired his dirty laundry about Gio Reyna.
On December 10, Berhalter attended a basketball game in Chicago with his wife (pictured above).
Photo: IMAGO / Sports press photo
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