0

Paul Arriola admits he might not have returned to USMNT setup if Gregg Berhalter was still coach

Share
Paul Arriola admits he might not have returned to USMNT setup if Gregg Berhalter was still coach

Paul Arriola admits he may not return to the USMNT setup if Gregg Berhalter is still coach after his World Cup stint as the manager’s future remains in limbo amid US Soccer’s ‘blackmail’ row

USA international Paul Arriola admits it will be more difficult to return to the American setup if Gregg Berhalter is still in charge following his World Cup absence.

The midfielder was ‘heartbroken’ and reportedly left ‘crying in his car’ when he was omitted from Berhalter’s 26-man roster for the World Cup in Qatar in November.

But two months since he was among Berhalter’s roster cuts, the FC Dallas native has been called up to the MLS-heavy USMNT annual winter training camp.

Paul Arriola says it's harder to get called if Gregg Berhalter is in charge

Gregg Berhalter left the midfielder out of his 26-man roster for the World Cup

Paul Arriola says it’s harder to get called if Gregg Berhalter is in charge

The 27-year-old did not let the shock and dismay of his World Cup snub stop him from returning to the USA setup this month but admitted the decision was made easier by Berhalter’s absence.

‘It’s harder for me to think about going back if Gregg is calling me,’ Arriola said, via the Washington Post.

He added that there was also ‘less reluctance’ to link up with the American team because of the relationships he has built with the coaching staff as a whole and his teammates over the years.

The USMNT is currently without a head coach after Berhalter, who led the team to the last 16 at the World Cup, saw his contract with US Soccer expire at midnight on January 1 and was recently rocked by scandal.

Berhalter’s future remains in limbo as US Soccer investigates allegations that he was ‘blackmailed’ amid a scandal involving him and the family of US player Gio Reyna, and have yet to offer the coach a new deal or appoint a new manager.

In response to Berhalter’s insult to Gio Reyna during the World Cup, Danielle Reyna – Gio’s mother and the wife of former US midfielder Claudio Reyna – notified US Soccer last month of an incident in 1991 where Berhalter kicked his future wife, Rosalind – Danielle Reyna’s college roommate.

Reyna was surprisingly given a limited role for the USA in their World Cup campaign

Gio Reyna was surprisingly given a limited role for the USA in their World Cup campaign

Reyna's mother Danielle (left) told US Soccer about Berhalter kicking her future husband in 1991

Reyna’s mother Danielle (left) told US Soccer about Berhalter kicking her future husband in 1991

Assistant coach Anthony Hudson steps in as interim coach for the national team’s friendlies against Serbia on Wednesday and Colombia on Saturday.

Arriola revealed that the coaching team told him they would understand if he didn’t want to go to the training camp but the midfielder said he didn’t want ‘missing his World Cup to stop him.’

‘The many situations we go through, we don’t have a chance to dictate how they go, do we?’ Arriola said Tuesday. ‘I don’t have control over whether I make the squad for the World Cup, but I do have control over how I want to respond.

Related:  Footy star Talatau Amone is STOOD DOWN by St George Illawarra Dragons over alleged hammer attack

‘As a married man now, when I hopefully one day have children. I want them to be able to look at their father and say that he literally had his dreams dashed and he chose to respond by getting back up and still willing to be a part of the program and continue to play.’

Anthony Hudson stepped in as interim coach for the national team's friendlies this week

Anthony Hudson stepped in as interim coach for the national team’s friendlies this week

He added: ‘The past couple weeks [before deciding], I came to the point where I accepted that I was not in the World Cup team. And I don’t want to let that stop me.’

‘It’s a tricky scenario [for Arriola] because I can’t imagine what he went through not being able to go to the World Cup with us for so long,’ said Hudson, a World Cup assistant.

‘We asked if he would or how he would feel, but his response was as you would expect from a very good man and a good character.’

The US hosts Serbia at Los Angeles FC’s BMO Stadium on Wednesday night, followed by a second exhibition against Colombia in Carson next Saturday.

With the European club currently in the midst of their post-World Cup restart, many of the players from the USMNT team that went to Qatar are ineligible for a callup.

Only five from Qatar, Sean Johnson, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Kellyn Acosta and Jesus Ferreira, are in camp.