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Berhalter remains eligible to coach USMNT after investigation

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Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to again coach the US men's soccer team in the wake of an independent probe into allegations of domestic abuse, the US Soccer Federation said Monday.

The three-month probe conducted by Alston & Bird law firm was launched in January after it was alerted to a 1992 incident in which Berhalter kicked his future wife, Rosalind, while they were in college and dating.

Berhalter had admitted to the "shameful" incident and the investigation concluded he had not committed any additional acts of violence.

"Given the investigators' conclusion that there is no legal impediment to employing him, Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team," US Soccer said in a statement.

Berhalter had guided the United States on what was broadly regarded as a successful World Cup campaign last year, the team making it to the last-16 in Qatar.

But an acrimonious feud between Berhalter and Borussia Dortmund star Gio Reyna, who was barely used in Qatar, exploded into public view when it emerged that Reyna had almost been sent home after a lacklustre approach to training.

Berhalter effectively confirmed the reports in remarks at a conference on "moral leadership" after the World Cup.

Reyna was angered by those public comments and in a further twist it emerged that US Soccer had been alerted to the 1992 incident by the player's parents. His father, Claudio Reyna, is a former US captain and team-mate of Berhalter.

The firm concluded the Reynas were not guilty of extortion in the matter. The investigation did show, however, that Claudio Reyna had a "pattern of periodic outreach" to federation officials, primarily in regards to the treatment of his son.

Berhalter's coaching contract expired on December 31 and World Cup assistant Anthony Hudson oversaw a January national training camp.

While Berhalter remains in the running to get the job back, US Soccer said it would not hire a coach until it appoints a new sporting director, a position that oversees all national teams.

Earnie Stewart left that job in February.

"US Soccer's process for determining who will serve as Sporting Director is ongoing, and interviews are underway," the federation said Monday. "The Sporting Director will lead the process of determining who will serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team."

The governing body also noted that the report "identifies a need to revisit US Soccer's policies concerning appropriate parental conduct and communications with staff at the National team level.

"We will be updating those policies as we continue to work to ensure safe environments for all participants in our game," US Soccer said.

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