Claudio Reyna is stepping down as Austin FC’s athletic director due to the USMNT scandal


Claudio Reyna speaks at a 2019 event in New York City. He was once a celebrated figure in US soccer. (Photo by Mike Stobe/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)

Claudio Reyna, the former US men’s national team captain who is at the center of a scandal involving his wife, son Gio and USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, is stepping down as Austin FC’s athletic director.

The MLS club announced on Thursday that Reyna was “resigning” and “moving” to a “technical advisor role”.

In a lengthy press release, Austin FC did not mention the scandal and presented the move as an amicable reduction in duties, but the announcement comes just weeks after Reyna, once a celebrated figure in American soccer, admitted to sending messages to US Soccer officials during the World Cup to “share” his “frustrations” with Gio’s “World Cup experience”. Gio, 20, only played eight minutes in the group stage.

ESPN reported that in his communications with US Soccer Director Earnie Stewart and USMNT GM Brian McBride, Claudio threatened to reveal damaging information from Berhalter’s past.

Claudio denied this, but a week after USMNT was eliminated from the World Cup, his wife Danielle Stewart revealed to Berhalter that Berhalter had kicked his now-wife in the early 1990s – a revelation that sparked a formal investigation and the explosion of the feud into the public eye .

Claudio’s communications with Stewart and McBride – his former USMNT teammates – is one of several subjects of an ongoing investigation commissioned by US Soccer.

Just hours before Austin FC’s announcement, US Soccer announced that Stewart was leaving his job to take on an equivalent role at Dutch club PSV Eindhoven.

He has been absent from Austin FC communications regarding roster changes since Claudio issued a brief statement with his partial admission on Jan. 4. Now that his downfall was official, Austin said head coach Josh Wolff – a former USMNT assistant under Berhalter – would oversee the club’s athletic department; and Sean Rubio, the director of player staff, would be appointed interim athletic director.

Reyna has held those roles since late 2019, before the expansion team had even played an MLS game.

Reyna had moved into management shortly after retiring as a player in 2008. He worked for US Soccer as a technical director mainly focusing on youth soccer. He was then hired by New York City FC in 2013 to found and lead the club’s nascent football operations department ahead of the inaugural MLS season of 2015.

Shortly thereafter, Gio joined the NYCFC academy and rose through the ranks. Shortly after Gio joined Borussia Dortmund in 2019 at the age of 16, Claudio left NYCFC to take the job in Austin and take on a second expansion project.

He undoubtedly had successful early years. The team struggled in its debut season in 2021 but finished second in the Western Conference and advanced to the 2022 conference finals. There was no indication that Austin needed or was considering a reshuffle.

The club did not comment on Claudio’s status as the scandal unfolded earlier this month. In addition to Claudio’s communications with Stewart and McBride, Fox Sports reported that he attempted to influence then-US U-17 coach Raphaël Wicky’s handling of Gio at the 2019 U-17 World Cup.

In Thursday’s release, Austin didn’t explain what Claudio’s new role as “technical advisor” will entail. Club owner Anthony Precourt thanked him for his “contributions” and said Claudio “will remain in a position to contribute to our organisation”. It is unclear whether he is still working full-time.

Reyna said in the press release he was “grateful that Anthony and the organization have given me the opportunity to reduce my role and responsibilities while continuing to contribute to the success of a club I love.”

Source link

Leave a Comment