Christian Pulisic backs Gregg Berhalter in face of 'childish' controversy

Christian Pulisic says there's no need to wait to appoint the new U.S. men's national team coach, and he seems to suggest that he would be happy if that coach is Gregg Berhalter, who took the USMNT to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In an interview with ESPN's Graham Hunter at his home in London, Pulisic was asked what he thought about the situation regarding Berhalter and Gio Reyna's parents.

"Everything that happened with Gregg, first of all, has been handled in an extremely childish manner," Pulisic said. "I think we've seen what has been going on. I think it's childish, it's youth soccer, people complaining about playing time. I don't want to go too far into that, but I think Gregg has been extremely unfortunate to get into the position he's in now."

Pulisic made it clear, though, he was not the one picking the next coach.

"I'm not here to appoint the next manager -- it's not my job -- and whoever it is, I'm going to play and give it 100 percent," Pulisic said up front.

After Gio Reyna did not play in the opening game at the World Cup against Wales following issues Berhalter and his staff had with the player's attitude, Claudio and Danielle Egan Reyna became upset. After the tournament ended for the USA and Berhalter made remarks at a leadership conference about a situation he had with an unnamed player at the World Cup, Danielle informed U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart about an incident involving Berhalter and his then-girlfriend and future wife Rosalindwhen they were freshmen at the University of North Carolina, where she and Rosalind were roommates and teammates on the UNC women's soccer team.

That prompted an independent investigation into the 1991 incident when Berhalter kicked Rosalind outside a bar. That investigation cleared Berhalter of any violations that would prevent U.S. Soccer from re-hiring him as the U.S. men’s national team coach, the position he held from December 2018 until his contract ran out on Dec. 31, 2022.

The hiring process has been on hold since Stewart resigned to take a job at Dutch club PSV. Stewart's job as sporting director should be filled by the middle of the summer but a new men's head coach won't be hired, according to U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, until a new sporting director is in place.

Said Pulisic, "Do I feel like we should just wait and wait? I don't think it's necessary, because we are not in a phase like we were after not qualifying [for the 2018 World Cup] where we need a complete rebuild. We don't need a bunch of new guys coming in. We have a strong core in my opinion — people have seen that and we need to carry on with that. It's a tough one for me because we want to continue that as soon as we can and build off this World Cup, which I think had a lot of positives in it, I will say. We want to get going with that as soon as we can."

Pulisic was then asked about a scenario in which Berhalter was re-hired and whether he'd be "reasonably content that you've got a talented coach, a reliable man, a winning coach, and somebody able to take the gains you all and he have made and push forward."

"Yeah, no doubt about it," Pulisic responded. "I think the strides that we've taken in recent years with him appointed has been evident. I think it's quite clear. So, yeah, that's what I'll say."

19 comments about "Christian Pulisic backs Gregg Berhalter in face of 'childish' controversy".
  1. John Richardson, March 17, 2023 at 3:24 a.m.

    I hope CP is healhty to play..I feel thast is his biggest determinant.

  2. Alan Blackledge, March 17, 2023 at 8:14 a.m.

    Well said CP.

  3. Kevin Leahy, March 17, 2023 at 8:32 a.m.

    I believe he realizes that GB is gone. There's no way back for GB with Gio as part of the pool. He would always be in a lose, lose situation. This federation doesn't seem to know how to do anything without consulting with lawyers.

  4. Donald Lee replied, March 17, 2023 at 11:28 a.m.

    While I agree with your criticism of the Federation's lawyer "investigation" here, and in other matters ... the idea that Berhalter can not return because of Gio is absurd. 

     Mature humans have the ability to get past stuff and move on.  They are two decent men.  Men have moved on past far more in this world to work together.

  5. Kent James replied, March 17, 2023 at 3:58 p.m.

    Donald, I agree.  And while it may be a bit awkward at first, the main issues were not between GB and Gio, but GB and Gio's parents, who will not be in the picture (unless Gio lets them in, which, if he has any sense, he won't).  While I don't think a workable relationship is a given, if Gio really did accept what went on at the WC and can maturely move on, it certainly seems possible that they could work together (assuming GB doesn't blame Gio for the sins of his parents).  

  6. Santiago 1314, March 17, 2023 at 10:25 a.m.

    Nice of CP, Not to "Kick a Man, while he's Down"
    NOW, if you are a GirlFriend.!?!?!?.. IT's OK.!!! (Please, Let's get Real People)
    Ggg shouldn't be ANYWHERE NEAR THIS TEAM.!!!

  7. Chris Wasdyke replied, March 18, 2023 at 9:26 a.m.

    Pretty sure you said the other day no one but MLS players and tim team would defend GB.  Sounds like you're moving your goal post.  YAWN.

  8. frank schoon replied, March 18, 2023 at 10:43 a.m.

    Hey ,Santi, don't you have any posters of GB on your wall   :)

  9. Santiago 1314 replied, March 18, 2023 at 4:37 p.m.

    Chris, do you really think that if there was a "Seceret Vote" that CP would Vote to Keep GGG.???

  10. Santiago 1314, March 17, 2023 at 10:27 a.m.

    "The Strides" would have been EVEN Greater, if we had had a "Real" National Team Coach in the Last Cycle.

  11. Radwan Muscat replied, March 17, 2023 at 10:59 a.m.


  12. Ben Myers replied, March 17, 2023 at 11:21 a.m.

    Agree. Many of Berhalter's choices of players were suspect, showing his bias toward MLS with which he was long familiar.  His experience playing in Europe is somewhat outdated.  The US attack was a one-trick pony, gegenpressing all the way. There was no development of alternative playing styles, making the USMNT predictable, not just to the Netherlands, but also to its Concacaf opponents during the runup to the World Cup.

  13. humble 1 replied, March 17, 2023 at 1:35 p.m.

    Couple things come out from this little bite.  Now you can see Christian growing as a leader.  I like it.  This was something we lacked going toward 2018.  He grew as a player, in front of viewers eyes in the 2022 World Cup, advancing from just a player to a warrior-player.  He's got GBs back.  He knows GB  won't be coming back, what he's doing here, is he's clarifygin where he and his mates stand in the Reyna-GB fued. They are with GB.  The other thing he's commenting on in a backward way - is that it was a complete melt-down in the build up to WC 2018.  GB fixed what was broke.  Sorry Santi - the results speak for themselves.  Klinsman with all his talk, never got further than Arena or Bradley, he left us, in-the-lurch. GB, brought us back.  This is what he just said - indirectly. He shows here, not only is he good players, he is smart young man, and knows the game on and off the pitch.  Well done! Onward!  Keep it going!   

  14. frank schoon replied, March 18, 2023 at 10:48 a.m.

    Ben, "gegenpressung", you're right that's all he has , just like Jesse Marsch with Leeds or any other team he coached. This concept is easiest to coach for all you hope  for the other team to make a mistake....

  15. Mike Calcaterra, March 17, 2023 at 1:41 p.m.

    There is enough stupid to this situation to go around without compounding it with more stupid here in the comments.

    1. Berhalter is guilty of nativity - you cannot trust reporters - ever!

    2. We are talking about the US Men's National Team (and Women's).  The players should be past the point wherein they need Mommy and Daddy to fight their fights. If the coaching staff believe that a player is not sufficiently committed to the team, it is their duty to play with the members who are committed. Stop. End of story.

    3. Who said kicking girlfriends is okay? Who said kicking anybody is okay. Nobody, including Berhalter, so hop off the virtue signaling train.

    4. Whoever thinks that an employee should be terminated for a 21-year-old indiscretion, whether charged with a misdemeanor or not, is living in a sick fantasy world.  A world without the notion of redemption.

    5. Shame on US Soccer for even listening to this argument, which was resolved decades ago, according to the victim. Further shame on launching an investigation.

    6. Berhalter needs new friends.

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, March 17, 2023 at 5:52 p.m.

    Has Anyone Asked the members of the USWNT what they think of Re-Appointing a Coach, that PUSHED a Woman Down, and then KICKED a Woman, While she was on the Ground.!!!

    I mean "Come'on Man" ... We know who is Really Running the USSF nowadays... The Ladies Team.!!!

    Also... The Women stand to GAIN, HALF OF THE PURSE MONEY, If we WIN the WC26...
    I would think They would want the Men to Appoint the Coach that BEST meets that Criteria.

    Can anybody REALLY say that GGG is that Candidate.!?!?!?

  17. frank schoon replied, March 18, 2023 at 10:56 a.m.

    Mike, yes, you can't trust reporters but also neither the players or coaching staff who were at the meeting for someone had to have told the reporters. So you can't blame the reporters, but someone else in that room.

  18. Kent James, March 17, 2023 at 4:01 p.m.

    Good to hear a perspective from one of the team's leaders.  It does seem a ridiculously long time to wait to appoint a new national team coach.  Why is it taking so long to appoint a sporting director?  Are they hoping GB will take himself out of the running by getting another job?

  19. James Madison, March 17, 2023 at 6:19 p.m.

    Shame on the Reyna parents. They show themselves to be "the very model of interfering soccer parents," when, as former national team players, they should model the reverse.  As for Gio, it's up to him to show up his parents by demonstrating his talent and also the ability to be a good teammate.

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