The mother of United States midfielder Giovanni Reyna says she reported head coach Gregg Berhalter for kicking his wife when they were teenagers.
Berhalter is under investigation by US Soccer after admitting the allegation.
Danielle Reyna, wife of former US captain Claudio, says she reported the incident to US Soccer on 11 December.
She said it was “unfair” that “people were trashing” her son, 20, when Berhalter had done something “much worse” at a similar age.
Borussia Dortmund player Reyna did not start a match for the US during the World Cup in Qatar.
During a speech at a leadership summit in early December, Berhalter said an unnamed player was nearly sent home from Qatar for “not meeting expectations on and off the field”.
Berhalter believed his comments would remain private but after they were erroneously permitted to be published, Reyna posted on Instagram that he was told by the coach that his role at the tournament would be “very limited” and that he let it affect his “training and behaviour”.
He added that he had apologised to his team-mates and Berhalter.
Berhalter said he had been contacted during the World Cup by someone saying they were going to “take him down”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Danielle Reyna, who won six caps for the US women’s national team and was the room-mate of Berhalter’s now wife Rosalind, said she “did not make any threats” when reporting the incident from 1991 to US Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart.
She said she contacted Stewart because she “was absolutely outraged and devastated that Gio had been put in such a terrible position” and that she felt “very personally betrayed” by someone her family “had considered a friend for decades”.
She added: “I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologised for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age.”
She also alleged that Berhalter’s statement, which was co-signed by Rosalind, “significantly minimised the abuse on the night in question”.
She added: “Rosalind Berhalter was my room-mate, team-mate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed.
“It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life.
“I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard.”
In Berhalter’s statement he said he kicked Rosalind in the legs during a “heated argument” after they had been out drinking.
He said Rosalind “wanted nothing to do” with him immediately after the incident but they met seven months later to rebuild their relationship.
They have been together since and celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary over the New Year weekend.
Danielle Reyna said she hoped reporting the incident to Stewart would help stop attacks on her son.
She said: “At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop.
“I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son.
“I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation.”
She added that she now understands Stewart “had an obligation to investigate” but that she “did not ask for Gregg to be fired” and “did not make any threats” nor does she “know anything about any blackmail attempts”.
In a subsequent statement, Claudio Reyna, who played with Berhalter on youth and high school teams as well as the US national squad, said he supported his wife and her statement.
He added: “I too was upset by Gregg’s comments about Gio after the US was out of the World Cup, and I also appealed to Earnie Stewart on December 11 asking him to prevent any additional comments.
“While in Qatar, I shared my frustrations about my son’s World Cup experience with a number of close friends, Earnie and Brian McBride among them. However, at no time did I ever threaten anyone, nor would I ever do so.”
Berhalter’s contract expired on 31 December and his position is under evaluation.
US Soccer said assistant coach Anthony Hudson will take charge of a training camp in January.
Damar Hamlin’s condition shows improvement, Buffalo Bills say
American football player Damar Hamlin is still in critical condition but showing some improvement, his team has said.
The Buffalo Bills player suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during a primetime Monday night US National Football League game in Cincinnati.
On Wednesday, the Bills issued the brief update on his status.
Tributes for Hamlin have poured in from the Buffalo community, the NFL and across the sports world.
The Bills said in a post on Twitter that Hamlin showed “signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight”.
“He is expected to remain under intensive care as his health care team continues to monitor and treat him.”
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during the game after tackling Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, whose helmet appeared to hit Hamlin in the chest. After initially getting to his feet, Hamlin fell on his back.
His injury during the game came as a shock to his family and loved ones, his uncle Dorrian Glenn said.
“I’ve never cried so hard in my life,” Mr Glenn told CNN. “Just to know, like, my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back to life. I mean, it’s just heartbreaking.”
Mr Glenn told CNN that Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice, once on the field and again in the hospital, though the player’s friend and marketing agent Jordon Rooney later said the uncle misspoke.
“Damar’s only been resuscitated once,” Mr Rooney clarified.
The BBC has reached out to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Hamlin is receiving treatment, for an update on his health but has not yet received a response.
Mr Glenn said his nephew is showing encouraging signs of improvement, such as doctors lowering the level of oxygen he needs. But he added Hamlin is on a ventilator and still sedated.
“They just want him to have a better chance of recovering better,” Mr Glenn said. “So, they feel that if he’s sedated, his body can heal a lot faster.”
In a separate interview with ESPN outside the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Mr Glenn said the family is grateful for the many tributes that Hamlin has received since his injury, including from players and fans – some of whom laid flowers, candles and signs with well-wishes outside the Cincinnati hospital.
“It really means a difference for my family to see that, and I know it’ll mean a difference to Damar when he sees that.”
On Tuesday night, players from the city’s ice hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres, wore “Love for 3” shirts – featuring Hamlin’s jersey number – as they arrived for their game against the Washington Capitals.
That same evening, Niagara Falls, located near Buffalo, was lit up blue in honour of Hamlin.
And on Twitter, the Buffalo Bills changed their display picture to a blue backdrop with the words “Pray for Demar” and the number three. The league’s 31 other teams soon followed suit.
Hamlin, 24, was drafted to the NFL in 2021 out of the University of Pittsburgh, where he played college football.
Pittsburgh’s coach, Pat Narduzzi, posted a tribute to Hamlin on Twitter, writing that he is “far more than just a football player”.
“He’s a loving son, brother and friend,” Mr Narduzzi wrote. “Damar is a hero to thousands of Pittsburgh kids.”
Tributes to Hamlin have hailed his extensive charity work, including annual toy drive fundraisers he has organised ahead of Christmas over the last three years.
An online GoFundMe page for one toy drive has since been reshared after Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, and has surpassed $6m (£4.97m) in donations as of Wednesday morning.
Following Hamlin’s injury, the NFL has indefinitely postponed the game between the Bills and the Bengals, with the league saying it has made “no decision” on whether the game will be resumed at a later date.
Hamlin’s team, the Buffalo Bills, is scheduled to play the New England Patriots on Sunday. On Wednesday, the team said they will be holding meetings and a walk-through ahead of Sunday’s game, but will not be providing further updates to the media.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame also postponed its planned Tuesday announcement of finalists for the Hall’s Class of 2023 to Wednesday evening, out of respect for Hamlin.