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U.S. Soccer investigates Coach Gregg Berhalter after 1991 domestic violence episode

USA coach Gregg Berhalter speaks during a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha on December 2, 2022, on the eve of the USA's World Cup soccer match against the Netherlands.
Patrick T. Fallon
/
AFP via Getty Images
USA coach Gregg Berhalter speaks during a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha on December 2, 2022, on the eve of the USA's World Cup soccer match against the Netherlands.

U.S. Men's Soccer Coach Gregg Berhalter has come forward to say that in 1991, when dating his future wife, he kicked her during an argument.

Berhalter released a lengthy statement on Tuesday - the same day U.S. Soccer announced it opened an investigation into the incident from three decades ago.

Berhalter said, "During the World Cup, an individual contacted U.S. Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would 'take me down' — an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with U.S. Soccer."

U.S. Soccer says it learned of the incident on December 11, 2022 - a week after the U.S. was knocked out of the World Cup with a loss to the Netherlands.

In his statement, Berhalter described what he did in 1991. "We had been dating for four months when an incident happened between us that would shape the future of our relationship. One night, when out drinking at a local bar, Rosalind and I had a heated argument that continued outside. It became physical and I kicked her in the legs."

"There are zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day. At the time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, family, and friends what had happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behavior. Rosalind also informed her parents, family, and friends."

USA coach Gregg Berhalter looks on before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup match between USA and Wales on November 21, 2022.
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
USA coach Gregg Berhalter looks on before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup match between USA and Wales on November 21, 2022.

"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," he said.

Berhalter said he and his wife celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last weekend.

Berhalter took over as coach of the U.S. Men's National Team in 2018 after the squad failed to qualify for that World Cup in Russia. He's the first man to play for and coach the U.S at a World Cup. He led the team to the 2022 World Cup - and the U.S. advanced into the knockout round.

His coaching contract was up last month - when U.S. Soccer says it launched "a full technical review of our Men's National Team Program."

Berhalter said, "I am looking forward to continuing my conversations with U.S. Soccer about the future."

U.S. Soccer says with the review and independent investigation ongoing, it will announce who will lead the January Men's National Team camp in the coming days.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.