Claudio Reyna has stepped down as sporting director of Austin FC and will “transition into a technical advisor role,” the Major League Soccer club announced Thursday.
The move comes in the wake of controversy involving U.S. men’s national team World Cup manager Gregg Berhalter and the family of U.S. and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna, Claudio’s son.
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Sources have told ESPN that Reyna had backed away from some of his duties as sporting director in Austin, though earlier this month the club insisted that nothing had changed with regard to his role. Now Reyna is out as sporting director, though he will contribute in an advisory role.
“I am grateful that Anthony and the organization have given me the opportunity to scale back my role and responsibilities while continuing to contribute to the success of a club that I love,” Reyna said in a club statement. “I take great pride in what we have accomplished but am looking forward to a less all-consuming work pace that still permits me to assist ongoing club development.”
Berhalter’s handling of Gio Reyna during the World Cup, in which the U.S. boss opted to use the player in a reduced role, drew the ire of the Reyna family, resulting in them directly communicating with U.S. Soccer executives.
Following the tournament in Qatar, Berhalter told a leadership conference about a player he nearly sent home during the World Cup because of a lack of effort in training. The individual was subsequently identified as Gio Reyna. In response, Danielle Reyna, Gio’s mother, told then-USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart of an incident of domestic violence involving Berhalter and his wife Rosalind back in 1991.
Berhalter later publicly disclosed that the incident had happened, with the USSF launching an investigation that is still ongoing.
Berhalter’s future with the USSF remains unclear. His contract expired at the end of December, but earlier on Thursday, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone maintained that he is still a candidate to resume his post.
Earlier Thursday, the USSF announced the departures of Stewart and USMNT GM Brian McBride, with Stewart departing to take up a technical director position with Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. U.S. Soccer said the moves were unrelated to the investigation.
As for Austin, current manager Josh Wolff will now also take on the duties of chief soccer officer, while Sean Rubio, who had been the club’s director of player personnel, will assume the role of sporting director.
“We’re grateful for Claudio’s contributions to both our Club and our community,” said Austin FC majority owner and chief executive officer, Anthony Precourt 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.”