United States Men’s National Team star forward Christian Pulisic said in an ESPN interview that there is no rush to name a full-time coach for the squad and that the events which led to the current vacancy have been “childish.”
Pulisic spoke in advance of the USMNT reconvening for the first time since the World Cup at Qatar this past winter. The squad, which is now preparing for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League, advanced out of group play in the World Cup with a 1-0-2 record before it was eliminated 3-1 in the Round of 16 by the Netherlands.
But a rift developed during the tournament with USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and the parents of forward Gio Reyna. The United States Soccer Federation was informed of an assault by Berhalter on his then-girlfriend, the former Rosalind Santana, that happened more than 30 years prior. The couple eventually reconciled and has been married for 25 years.
Claudio Reyna, a former USMNT player from 1994-2006, and Danielle Reyna, a former roommate of Rosalind Berhalter, informed the USSF of the past assault. An investigation by the law firm Alston & Bird determined that the information was passed along because Gio Reyna’s parents were upset over their son’s potential lack of playing time, although the actions were determined not to rise to the level of blackmail.
“Everything that happened with Gregg, first of all, has been handled in an extremely childish manner,” Pulisic said in the ESPN interview. “I think we all have seen what’s been going on. I think it’s childish. It’s youth-soccer (level), people complaining about playing time. … I think Gregg has been extremely unfortunate to get into the position he is in now.”
Berhalter’s contract with the USMNT expired at the end of the year, with Anthony Hudson taking over on an interim basis. The investigation ruled that Berhalter’s history with his current wife “does not prevent an employer from employing Mr. Berhalter.”
Pulisic does not think the USSF needs to rush into a decision on a new coach, even though the Nations League is about to begin with a March 24 game at Grenada and a March 27 contest at Orlando, Fla., against El Salvador.
“I don’t think we are in a phase like we were after not qualifying (for the 2018 World Cup) … where we need a complete rebuild,” Pulisic said. “We don’t need a bunch of new guys coming in and this and this. We have a strong core, in my opinion, and I think a lot of people have seen that. We have to carry on with that.”
Pulsic, who plays in England at Chelsea, is leading a roster mostly made up of European-based U.S. players into upcoming play for the Nations League, which is used to determine the top teams in CONCACAF, while serving as a qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
–Field Level Media