U.S. boss Berhalter yet to resolve Reyna dispute

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U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter has yet to speak to midfielder Gio Reyna following their dispute surrounding last year’s World Cup and has consulted mediation experts in an effort to resolve the situation, he told Vanity Fair.

The relationship between Berhalter and the Reyna family was at the heart of a messy affair that led to Berhalter’s contract being allowed to expire at the end of 2022.

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Berhalter was reappointed as USMNT coach in June and admitted at the time that there was “work to do” to repair the relationship with one of the United States’ key players heading toward the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

More than two months later and ahead of Berhalter’s first matches back in charge next month, the U.S. coach said he is still approaching the situation with caution.

“It’s not something where you just pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey bud, here’s how it’s going to be.’ There is work to be done,” he told Vanity Fair for an article published Tuesday.

“We both want the U.S. to win the World Cup and be very successful and now it’s figuring out a way to cooperate to do that,” he added.

Berhalter, who said he has “had calls with almost every player,” added that he had talked with experts on mediation in order to handle the situation “in the right way.”

Speaking at a leadership conference after the 2022 World Cup, Berhalter recounted how he nearly sent an unnamed player — later identified as Reyna — home for poor behavior.

This drew an angry response from Reyna’s parents, Danielle and Claudio, both former U.S. internationals, who informed then-USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart of a domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and his now-wife Rosalind when the two were in college.

An investigation followed, with the USSF accepting Berhalter’s explanation and steps he took to make amends, which allowed him to return as coach.

Berhalter declined to comment to Vanity Fair about whether he would be able to reconcile with Reyna’s parents.

Gio Reyna has yet to play since suffering a calf injury in June’s Concacaf Nations League final victory over Canada. He returned to training with German club Borussia Dortmund last week but was not in the squad for the Bundesliga draw with VfL Bochum on Saturday, meaning he may not feature for the U.S. next month.

The U.S. will play Uzbekistan in St. Louis on Sept. 9 before taking on Oman in St. Paul, Minnesota, three days later. Berhalter will name his roster for those games on Wednesday.

If Reyna doesn’t feature in those games, his next opportunity for a call-up would be in October friendlies against Germany and Ghana.

“We started this process of how to set expectations a little and figure out how we’re going to move forward together,” Berhalter said of his relationship with Reyna, who he called a “super talented player who can help this team.”

“Some of it will involve him, some of it will involve us, and eventually, hopefully, it leads towards Gio being comfortable in the team, comfortable that he’s being evaluated fairly and coached fairly and held to the same norms and standards as everybody else.”

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