Gregg Berhalter says past domestic violence incident was used to 'take me down'; U.S. Soccer investigating

United States men's national team soccer coach Gregg Berhalter listens, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in New York, as the team's roster for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar is announced. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)
U.S. men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

U.S. Soccer is investigating a decades-old incident involving Gregg Berhalter and his wife that Berhalter says was used to try to take him down shortly after the USMNT was eliminated from the World Cup.

In corresponding statements on Tuesday, U.S. Soccer announced the investigation, which is ongoing, and Berhalter publicly detailed the incident for the first time. In 1991, a few months into his relationship with his then-girlfriend, Rosalind, during what Berhalter called a “heated argument,” he “kicked her in the legs,” he revealed.

He detailed the incident and the aftermath, and explained how he and Rosalind moved on from it, because an individual had contacted U.S. Soccer on Dec. 11 in what Berhalter called “an apparent attempt to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer.”

Berhalter coached the USMNT from late 2018 through the 2022 World Cup. Berhalter’s contract expired on Dec. 31, and discussions surrounding his future as USMNT coach have been ongoing for weeks.

In his statement, Berhalter wrote that, a few months into his relationship with Rosalind, while in college at the University of North Carolina, they were “out drinking at a local bar” when they “had a heated argument that continued outside. It became physical and I kicked her in the legs,” Berhalter wrote.

“There are zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day,” Berhalter continued. “At that time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably, she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, my 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 wrote that seven months later, Rosalind called him and they rebuilt their relationship. They have since lived together for almost three decades, raised four children and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Berhalter called all of this “a story that belongs to us,” but wrote that “now is the time for me to publicly share some personal information which a third party has used against my family and me.”

U.S. Soccer said that, immediately after learning of the allegation eight days after the USMNT’s World Cup ouster, it hired the Alston & Bird law firm “to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.”

Subsequently, “U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization,” the federation continued. “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.”

Berhalter, in his statement, said that he and Rosalind have fully cooperated with the investigation. “While we would prefer not to speak about something so personal from so long ago in such a public forum,” he wrote, “we are embracing this opportunity to share what has shaped us and how much we have grown and learned from this over the past 31 years.” The intention of the statement, he said, was “to provide transparency and to reinforce that a single bad decision made by a teenager does not necessarily define him for the rest of his life.”

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He also mentioned that he is “looking forward to continuing my conversations with U.S. Soccer about the future.”

With the first USMNT training camp of 2023 scheduled to begin later this month, and with two friendlies scheduled for Jan. 25 and 28, U.S. Soccer said that it “will announce who will lead [the training camp] in the coming days.”

There is no firm timeline for the investigation, which will likely conclude before U.S. Soccer and Berhalter make a final decision on his future.