USA interim head coach Anthony Hudson says the current state of the team is 'not a nice situation' after bombshell 'blackmail' scandal as he admits 'sadness' at losing the positivity from World Cup last-16 run

dailymail.co.uk 9 days ago

United States men's national team interim head coach Anthony Hudson has revealed the turmoil surrounding the team is 'not a nice situation'.

US Soccer has been rocked by controversy since the World Cup with the future of its former leader Gregg Berhalter up in the air following the bombshell 'blackmail' scandal.

Speaking ahead of the Star and Stripes' upcoming friendlies against Serbia, on January 25, and Colombia three days later, Hudson admitted there is a glum feeling within the camp after Gio Reyna's parents told US Soccer Berhalter kicked his wife in 1991 and an investigation was launched.


'It's a shame for everyone who's involved: players, staff, Gregg, everyone is affected by it,' the 41-year-old ex-Colorado Rapids head coach said Tuesday. 'It's not a nice situation.' 

USMNT interim head coach Anthony Hudson will take charge against Serbia and Colombia
USMNT interim head coach Anthony Hudson will take charge against Serbia and Colombia
Hudson has admitted that a sad feeling is hanging around the US camp due to recent turmoil
Hudson has admitted that a sad feeling is hanging around the US camp due to recent turmoil

Berhalter's young US team impressed en route to the last-16 in Qatar when they were eventually dumped out by Holland following a 3-1 defeat.

However, Hudson admitted there's now 'sadness' with the revelations changing the narrative and replacing the positivity that was created last year.

'It's been a dream for so many of them - so many of us, but mainly the players,' he continued in his press conference. Hudson was an assistant coach of Berhalter's this winter in Qatar. 

'They set out with a big, lofty ambition, not just go [to the World Cup], but to go there and represent themselves in a way that people would sit up and take notice of the team.

'So when all this happened, I think it was [a feeling of shame]. It's sadness because all the attention has gone away from that. All the good work and it's been shifted in an another direction.' 

The relationship between suspended USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and Gio Reyna is making headlines for all the wrong reasons
The relationship between suspended USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter and Gio Reyna is making headlines for all the wrong reasons
After the World Cup, Reyna's parents resurfaced a domestic violence claim between Berhalter and his wife, Rosalind
After the World Cup, Reyna's parents resurfaced a domestic violence claim between Berhalter and his wife, Rosalind
Claudio Reyna, a former teammate of Berhalter's in the USMNT, and his wife, Danielle
Claudio Reyna, a former teammate of Berhalter's in the USMNT, and his wife, Danielle

The claims were brought forward by Danielle and Claudio Reyna, parents of US and Borussia Dortmund star winger Giovanni Reyna, who was reported to have a rift with Berhalter due to his unhappiness at sitting on the bench in Qatar. 

The 20-year-old, England-born player was also close to being sent home during the tournament. Berhalter's future is uncertain after his contract expired following the conclusion of the World Cup.

'I've said yes to doing it for now and then my next huge responsibility is to the players,' Hudson said. 'Because we can't get all our players from overseas because they're not available, historically, this camp opens up a space for new players to come in.'

'We've seen there's 30-odd plus players that have made their first or second cap in this window in the past and gone on to represent [us] in the World Cup.' 

A player that the US is hoping to count on for years to come is goalkeeper Gabriel 'Gaga' Slonina. The 18-year-old signed with Chelsea in August but remained on loan with the Chicago Fire until the New Year. He had 12 clean sheets in 32 MLS games last season. 

A name the USMNT is hoping to build around in the future is goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 18
A name the USMNT is hoping to build around in the future is goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, 18

'It's an honor to be here,' Slonina, who is of Polish origin, said. 'I'm using this opportunity to show what I can do as a player for the national team, I think that's very important. The move has been great. The training and level there is something that I think every player dreams of.'

'Coming out here and showing what I've learned out there for the short time I've been there, I think that's something I can use to my advantage.' 

Slonina is one of few US players based in Europe who joined the latest US squad, as many were blocked by their clubs to fly overseas due to the two friendlies not being scheduled during an official international break. 

'[Chelsea is] super proud,' the young goalie said. 'A club like that, I think, gives you the most resources to be successful. When you get an opportunity like this, yeah, they're super happy. Told me to enjoy the moment and hopefully get my first cap with the national team.'

Hudson wants a team with experience and youth and has named Kellyn Acosta in his squad
Hudson wants a team with experience and youth and has named Kellyn Acosta in his squad

Hudson admitted that his aim is to gel youth with experience, as he wants players who featured at the World Cup to guide those who've only recently started their relatively young careers. Among those who were part of the US squad featuring in Qatar are Walker Zimmerman, Kellyn Acosta, DeAndre Yedlin, Aaron Long, Sean Johnson and Jesus Ferreira. 

'They've responded really, really well as I'd expect them,' Hudson said. 'I mean, that's why we chose them to come in because we know the character of these guys.'

The American coach, who is also English due to being the son of former Chelsea, Stoke City, Arsenal player and England international Alan Hudson, also conceded that he doesn't know what's up next for either himself or the team following the two January friendlies. 

'I have no idea,' he said. 'I think we play these two games and I'm going to go home and see what comes after that.' 

The game against Serbia will be broadcasted on HBO Max, while the US-Colombia match will be shown on ESPN.