USMNT coach says ‘singer’ forced him to admit domestic violence

Patrick Smith – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The landscape of American football was rocked on Tuesday afternoon after a series of leaked claims that men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter kicked his wife 30 years ago – an incident which he claims a blackmailer had used to try to get him fired after the World Cup last month.

In a meandering statement on Tuesday, Berhalter admitted to kicking his now wife Rosalind in the legs outside a bar in 1991 during a ‘heated argument’ – an assault which he says caused was a “shameful moment” that he regrets to this day.

Authorities were not alerted to the incident at the time, but Berhalter said Rosalind – then his girlfriend of four months – dumped him on the spot and wanted nothing to do with him.

Berhalter said he sought counseling after the incident on his own. He and Rosalind reconciled seven months later and have been together ever since, celebrating 25 years of marriage last weekend.

Berhalter was a student-athlete at the University of North Carolina when the incident happened. Despite a long playing career and four years as the United States men’s head coach, the abuse was kept under wraps until Tuesday.

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It’s still unclear what the assault will mean for Berhalter’s future with the national team. He was hired in 2018 on a four-year contract which expired on Sunday, and the federation says it will announce plans for its January training camp “in the coming days”.

“We appreciate that Gregg and Rosalind have come forward to speak openly about this incident,” the US Soccer statement said. “…US Soccer condemns violence of any kind and takes these allegations seriously.”

To explain why he was clear now, Berhalter said someone contacted US Soccer about a week after the team was knocked out of the World Cup, threatening to smear him and have him fired.

“A person contacted US Soccer, saying they had information about me that could ‘bring me down’ – an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from a long time ago to end my relationship with US Soccer,” the statement read.

Shortly after Berhalter released his statement on Twitter, US Soccer announced that it had hired Alston & Bird LLP to investigate the allegations – and the alleged blackmailer – after the tip was phoned on December 11. .

US Soccer said the investigation is ongoing and will publish its findings when completed.

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