Claudio Reyna out as Austin FC sporting director amid USMNT saga
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Claudio Reyna was moved out of his leadership role as sporting director of Austin FC on Thursday, the latest job change that followed the Reyna family’s spat with U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter.
The 49-year-old Reyna was shifted to a title of technical adviser. The former U.S captain had led the Major League Soccer team since 2019 and through its first two seasons on the field in 2021 and 2022.
Austin head coach Josh Wolff will be the club’s chief soccer officer on an interim basis, the team said. Director of player personnel Sean Rubio will be interim sporting director.
Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Soccer Federation said sporting director Earnie Stewart was resigning to take a job with PSV Eindhoven and general manager Brian McBride also was quitting.
Berhalter, whose contract expired Dec. 31, is under investigation by a USSF law firm for a domestic violence incident in 1991, and Anthony Hudson took over as interim coach. The USSF said it expected Hudson to remain in the role until late summer.
Austin club officials declined further comment on Reyna’s job change and whether it was related to the family dispute.
“We’re grateful for Claudio’s contributions to both our club and our community,” Austin majority owner and chief executive officer Anthony Precourt said in a statement. “Claudio has been committed to the cause of building a club that inspires Austin, and he will remain in a position to contribute to our organization.”
Reyna said he’s looking forward to “a less all-consuming work pace that still permits me to assist ongoing club development.”
Following the Americans’ round of 16 elimination against the Netherlands at the World Cup on Dec. 3, Berhalter told a management conference in New York he nearly sent a player home from Qatar for lack of hustle in training. The remarks clearly were about 20-year-old Gio Reyna, a son of Claudio Reyna and former women’s player Danielle Egan Reyna.
The Reyna parents complained to Stewart and McBride about their son’s lack of playing time in Qatar, where he was limited to a pair of substitute appearances.
Danielle Reyna notified Stewart of a 1991 incident in which Berhalter kicked a woman who later became his wife, Rosalind Santana Berhalter, who was Danielle’s college roommate. The USSF hired the law firm Alston & Bird to investigate in a probe that is ongoing.
Claudio Reyna made 112 international appearances from 1994 to 2006 and captained the U.S. at two World Cups. He became sporting director of New York City FC in 2013 and held the role until leaving for Austin in November 2019.
After finishing last in the Western Conference in 2021, Austin advanced to the conference final last season, losing to eventual MLS champion Los Angeles FC.
Gio Reyna, among the top young American players, did not play in the Americans’ World Cup opener against Wales in November, then played eight minutes against England. He was held out of the match against Iran, then entered at the start of the second half against the Dutch.
In his first two matches since the World Cup, he scored late winning goals for Borussia Dortmund against Augsburg on Sunday and versus Mainz on Wednesday. During both goal celebrations, he gestured with his hands over his ears in an apparent attempt to say he was tuning out the controversy.