USA boss Gregg Berhalter has admitted kicking his wife in an argument when they were teenagers.
The 49-year-old, whose contract expires this month, is under investigation from the US Soccer Federation [USSF] over the incident, which happened in 1991.
Berhalter says he was forced to dislose the episode after he was threatened during the World Cup by someone saying they were going to ‘take him down’.
In a lengthy statement shared on social media, co-signed by his wife Rosalind, Berhalter shared details of the incident which happened before they were married.
The pair reconciled months later and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.
The statement read: “While we obviously would have wanted to advance further in the World Cup, I am very proud of and grateful for all our players, our staff, everyone at US Soccer, and all of the USMNT fans worldwide who supported us.
“Our performance relied on hard work and extraordinary energy and commitment from those on and off the pitch during the years of preparation.
“There are so many positive examples of how our squad came together, making so many different types of sacrifices all in pursuit of our group’s shared vision.
“I am looking forward to continuing my conversations with US Soccer about the future, but now is the time for me to publicly share some personal information which a third party has used against my family and me.”
The statement continued: “During the World Cup, an individual contacted US Soccer, saying that they had information about me that would “take me down” – an apparent effort to leverage something very personal from long ago to bring about the end of my relationship with US Soccer.
“This is a difficult step to take, but my wife, Rosalind, and I want to clearly and directly share the truth. This is a story that belongs to us, but hopefully there are lessons from our relationship that can be valuable to others.
“In the fall of 1991, I met my soulmate. I had just turned 18 and was a freshman in college when I met Rosalind for the first time.
“There was a familiar feeling when we spoke. Rosalind was and is an amazing person – determined, empathetic, fun to be around – and we connected immediately.
“It felt like we had known each other for years. We had been dating for four months when an incident happened between us that would shape the future of our relationship.
“One night, while out drinking at a local bar, Rosalind and I had a heated argument that continued outside. It became physical and I kicked her in the legs.
“There are zero excuses for my actions that night; it was a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day.
“At that time, I immediately apologized to Rosalind, but understandably, she wanted nothing to do with me. I told my parents, family, and friends what happened because I wanted to take full responsibility for my behavior.
“Rosalind also informed her parents, family, and friends. While the authorities were never involved in this matter, I voluntarily sought out counseling to help learn, grow and improve – one of the most valuable decisions that ever made.
“To this day, that type of behavior has never been repeated.”
Berhalter, who played as a defender for his nation between 1994 and 2006, became USA manager in 2018.
He previously worked with Hammarby IF in Sweden, and MLS team Columbus Crew before moving into international soccer.
He led the USA through the group stage at the World Cup in Qatar last month, before their tournament was ended in the last 16 by the Netherlands.
The USSF said it will announce in the coming days who will take charge of the team for games against Serbia and Colombia later this month as it carries out its investigation.
The federation said it first discovered the allegation on December 11 and has hired a law firm to launch a probe.
A USSF statement read: “Upon learning of the allegation against US Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter on Dec 11, 2022, US Soccer immediately hired Alston & Bird LLP to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
“Through this process, US Soccer has learned about potential inappropriate behaviour towards multiple members of our staff by individuals outside of our organisation.
“We take such behaviour seriously and have expanded our investigation to include those allegations.
“We appreciate Gregg and Rosalind coming forward to speak openly about this incident. Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we will share the results of the investigation publicly when it is complete.
“US Soccer condemns violence of any kind and takes such allegations very seriously.”