US Soccer has the double task of making a decision about the future of USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter at the same time as hiring lawyers to investigate a claim by Berhalter that he was the victim of blackmail.

The timing couldn’t be worse.

On December 31st, Berhalter’s contract as the head coach came to an end. US Soccer says that “U.S. Soccer will announce who will lead the January Men’s National Team camp in the coming days.” With the 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 issue is compounded by Gregg Berhalter making a statement public today to disclose an incident of domestic violence that happened 31 years ago. Berhalter has brought the subject to light because he claims he was threatened with blackmail during the World Cup.

USSF release statement about Gregg Berhalter blackmail claims

After Berhalter made the claims public, US Soccer’s communications team issued a press release that is lacking a lot of details.

It reads:

“Upon learning of the allegation against U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter on Dec. 11, 2022, U.S. Soccer immediately hired Alston & Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. The investigation is being led by Jenny Kramer, BJay Pak and Chris Marquardt of Alston & Bird LLP and remains ongoing.

“Through this process, U.S. Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behavior towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organization. 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. 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.

“Last month, U.S. Soccer launched a full technical review of our Men’s National Team Program. 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. We look forward to building off the performance in Qatar and preparing for the journey towards 2026.”

Deciphering US Soccer’s press release

A lot of the press release requires a skill of reading between the lines to try to determine what they’re saying.

For instance, the press release refers to Berhalter as the US Men’s National Team head coach, even though his agreement ended on December 31. Has the agreement been renewed before an official announcement can be revealed? Or has it been temporarily extended for the January camp until US Soccer makes a final decision?

The US Soccer press release also mentions that the organization plans to determine who will lead the January camp. Perhaps that’s a hint that it’ll be a short-term deal?

In the press release, it mentions that US Soccer learned of the allegation of blackmail on December 11. Did the incident happen on December 11th, over a week after the USA exited the World Cup against Netherlands on December 3rd? Or did he delay sharing the revelation with US Soccer?

Also did Berhalter’s appearance at the Summit on Moral Leadership at the HOW Institute for Society on December 6th have any relevance to the timeline? At the event in New York City, Berhalter aired his dirty laundry about Gio Reyna.

On December 10th, Berhalter attended a basketball game in Chicago with his wife (pictured above).

Photo: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo