Santana’s roommate at the time, Danielle Egan, later married Claudio Reyna, an American leading player. Later, Berhalter and Rina were World Cup teammates in 2002 and 2006. In both tournaments, Rina was the captain of the United States. In 2021, while serving as CEO of MLS club Austin FC, Rina took on Berhalters’ son, Sebastian, for the season. When it was over, Rena refused to keep him on the team. Renas also has a soccer-playing son, Gio, who was expected to be a major contributor for the United States at the World Cup but only played 52 minutes. Berhalter’s sporadic use of Reyna, which drew critical comments, seemed suspiciously personal.
After the World Cup, Danielle Reyna told US Soccer about Berhalter’s college fight with Santana. Any discussions about extending Berhalter’s expired contract had to be postponed until an investigation could take place. It was hard not to view the whole sordid episode as a microcosm of Federalism: common interests undermined by animosities and rivalries—”some of it,” Kuhn says, “has been around before I was born.”
Berhalter, who was open and remorseful about the decades-old incident, was acquitted in March. It just means that he could be a candidate for office again. In June, after an extensive search process—described as data paid by the union—and six months without a permanent coach, Berhalter was reappointed. It struck many observers as preposterous, or worse – “a hoax and an embarrassment,” as ESPN’s Craig Burley put it.
However, many American fans are optimistic about the American men’s performance in the 2026 World Cup, many of which will be held in the United States. The USA have not reached the quarter-finals since 2002, yet it is not unusual to hear commentators say that anything short of a semi-final would be a success. It is noteworthy that the term of the presidency of the US national team before Cordero ended due to a disappointing result by the American men. After a small loss to Trinidad and Tobago caused the team to miss the 2018 World Cup, Sunil Gulati, an economist who has led the federation for more than a decade, has announced he will not seek re-election. She never directly employed Kuhn Berhalter, but her fortunes are now at least partially overlapped with his own.
This past April, the men played an exhibition game against Mexico in Glendale, Arizona. Before the game, Conn, who had traveled to support them, met current and potential sponsors at a restaurant near the stadium. Later, she gave a great interview on Telemundo, breaking news that she saved for the occasion: The United States and Mexico have submitted a joint bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup. At halftime, she led a group of federation executives down the lobby to the Mexico Pavilion for a gift exchange, which is common in international games.