Gregg Berhalter, who coached the United States to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, admitted Tuesday to allegations surrounding a 1991 incident in which kicked his now-wife Rosalin in the legs during an argument outside a bar.
The incident was reported to U.S. Soccer last month and occurred when Berhalter was an 18-year-old freshman defender at the University of North Carolina.
"There are zero excuses for that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day," Berhalter wrote in a lengthy social media post that was signed by both him and his wife.
"At that time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, family and friends what happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behavior. Rosalind also informed her parents, family and friends. While the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought out counseling to help learn, grow and improve — one of the most valuable decisions that I ever made. To this day, that type of behavior has never been repeated."
Berhalter went on to say that Rosalind contacted him seven months later and that the pair reconciled — they’ve been together ever since and have four children together — and suggested the previously unknown incident came to light as part of an apparent blackmail attempt.
"An individual contacted U.S. Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would 'take me down’ — an apparent attempt to leverage something very personal from a long time ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer," Berhalter wrote on his unverified Twitter account, the authenticity of which FOX Sports was able to confirm.
In its own statement Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation said it learned of the allegations Dec. 11, a little more than a week after the U.S. team was eliminated by the Netherlands in the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar. The USSF said it immediately launched an independent investigation into both the incident and the alleged extortion of Berhalter.
"Through this process, U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization," U.S. Soccer’s statement said. "We take such behavior seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations.
"We appreciate Gregg and Rosalind coming forward to speak openly about this incident," the statement continued. "Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we will share the results of the investigation publicly when it is complete. U.S. Soccer condemns violence of any kind and takes such allegations very seriously."
A former two-time U.S. World Cup defender, Berhalter was hired to lead the national team in December 2018, 14 months after the Americans failed to qualify for that year’s World Cup — the U.S. men’s first tournament miss in more than 30 years. He led the squad to CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League titles in 2021, and last March qualified the Americans for their first World Cup in eight years.
His four-year contract expired last week; whether or not Berhalter, who managed teams in Sweden and MLS before taking the national team job, is considered to continue as USMNT coach will likely depend on both the outcome of the investigation and the technical review still being conducted by U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart.
The U.S. will kick off its 2023 slate later this month with friendly matches against Serbia and Colombia in Los Angeles.
"With the review and investigation ongoing, U.S. Soccer will announce who will lead the January men’s national team camp in the coming days," the federation’s statement said.
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