BRAD FRIEDEL: I hope Claudio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter repair their friendship


Like everyone, I’m really shocked and surprised by what has happened between Gregg Berhalter and Claudio Reyna. I played with them both, I know them both. They were the best of friends, their families were great friends.

Things just went crazy and got way out of hand. I don’t understand that it happened to these two. I’ve spoken to friends, teammates, everyone is the same – the response is just ‘wow’. I know both families well – Gregg and Rosalind have lovely kids, a loving marriage and a fantastic life together. And the same for Claudio and Danielle and their kids.

I remember the US camps we all played in. They weren’t cliquey in a bad way but you’d naturally spend time with people from the same area as you. UCLA guys would go in and hang out together – I’d room with Joe Max-Moore. Claudio and Gregg came from Jersey, they went to different universities but they knew each other. If there was a free day to go out to lunch or whatever it would be those two and their families. They were just great friends. 

US Soccer has an investigation and I think they will find out the timeline of every message, every text and then we will be able to know who is in the right, who is in the wrong or if they are both in the wrong. 

Brad Friedel has spoken of hope Gregg Berhalter and Claudio Reyna can repair their friendship

The unravelling of a decade-spanning friendship between the two families ultimately stems from Berhalter (right) choosing not to play Gio Reyna much at the World Cup in Qatar

The unravelling of a decade-spanning friendship between the two families ultimately stems from Berhalter (right) choosing not to play Gio Reyna much at the World Cup in Qatar

Friedel (top left) played alongside Berhalter (top row, third left) and Reyna (left, bottom row) for many years with the United States national team

Friedel (top left) played alongside Berhalter (top row, third left) and Reyna (left, bottom row) for many years with the United States national team

And when we think about what has happened here and what might have gone on at the World Cup, we need to recognize that an open line of communication with the head coach, as a parent of a player, is not normal – but it is for those two. Those guys would have spoken all the time, just as friends.

It’s unique. What’s even more to the extreme is very rarely do you have two best friends, one of their sons is one of the best players in the United States and the other is the coach.

But I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to live in the past. I’m trying to look at avenues for how everyone can move forward. People will probably think I’m crazy but I really hope they can sit down and rectify it. 

Reyna (No. 10) and Berhalter (No. 3) were 'great friend' during their time on the US squad

Reyna (No. 10) and Berhalter (No. 3) were ‘great friend’ during their time on the US squad

I think they’ve had too many good years of relationship and yes, some bad things have been said but I hope they can rectify things. I really do. What I know of them, their families were far too close for this to be occurring.

I think Anthony Precourt, the owner of Austin, could have a part to play. He has really good relationships with both individuals, one who he currently employs as sporting director in Claudio and one he has hired in the past in Gregg, as coach of Columbus.

Anthony is a gentleman, he’s a really nice guy and very humble. I’ve met him a few times, back in the day I was one of the final candidates before he hired Gregg for the Columbus jobs. 

But he’s in a powerful position and if you look at what he’s done now at Austin and previously with Columbus, he knows a thing or two about leadership. While I am sure Anthony didn’t want any of this on his lap, nor did he cause it or have anything to do with it, being the gentleman that he is maybe he can help the situation.

Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt has close ties to both coach Berhalter and Reyna

Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt has close ties to both coach Berhalter and Reyna

Berhalter (second right) was previously hired by Precourt (left) while at Columbus

Berhalter (second right) was previously hired by Precourt (left) while at Columbus

Precourt (left) has now hired Reyna (second left) as sporting director with Austin FC

Precourt (left) has now hired Reyna (second left) as sporting director with Austin FC

What US Soccer does from here, I don’t know. Maybe they don’t want the excess noise and they push everyone aside and go a new way. This all comes at an unfortunate time when they were reviewing whether to keep Gregg for another four-year cycle, like many federations are after the World Cup in Qatar.

One of the big questions US Soccer might have for Gregg is how things could be with Gio Reyna moving forward. Gio is one of our best players. Whoever the coach is, if Gio is fit and playing to the level he can, he is called into the squad.

In Qatar, Gio made a mistake by letting his focus drop. He is a young player, he is an incredibly talented player and he is one US Soccer needs for the future. He will get called into every US camp that he is fit for moving forward. 

I think Gregg said he shouldn’t have made the comments after the World Cup to the group he was speaking to, when he alluded Reyna’s disappointment. I don’t think this is a situation where he is saying he is blameless. 

A question US Soccer faces over Berhalter is how things could be with Gio Reyna in the future

A question US Soccer faces over Berhalter is how things could be with Gio Reyna in the future

But players starting and not starting, those are team decisions. They should be left in house. In every squad, there is always a player or two upset cow they can’t play. This is one of those times it got way out of hand.

Would I have said anything like Gio did? I don’t know, but it is different when you’re thrown into these things. I would assume now Gio is going to focus on club football, keep his head down and he is going to be a huge part of US Soccer moving forward. 

Time is important for Gregg and Claudio, but US soccer might not have that time to make a decision on the head coaching front. I think the family and friendship is a little bit more important than the job. 

They were both exceptionally gifted players, they have excelled in their roles as head coach and sporting directors. It would be a shame if this is what people remember them for rather than what they accomplished in their field. 

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