Paul Arriola admits he might not have returned to USMNT setup if Gregg Berhalter was still coach after his World Cup snub as the manager’s future remains in limbo amid US Soccer’s ‘blackmail’ row

USA international Paul Arriola admitted it would have been harder to return to the American setup if Gregg Berhalter was still at the helm following his World Cup snub. 

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 last November. 

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

Paul Arriola said it would have been harder to be called up if Gregg Berhalter was in charge

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

Paul Arriola said it would have been harder to be called up if Gregg Berhalter was in charge

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

‘It would have been even harder for me to think about coming back if it were Gregg that was the one that was calling me,’ Arriola said, via the Washington Post. 

He added that there was also ‘less hesitation’ to link up with the American team due to the relationship he had built with the coaching staff as a whole and his teammates over the years. 

Arriola said there was 'less hesitation' to go due to his relationship with staff and players

Arriola said there was ‘less hesitation’ to go due to his relationship with staff and players

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 while US Soccer investigates allegations he was ‘blackmailed’ amid a sensational  dispute involving him and the family of US player Gio Reyna, and has yet to offer a new deal to the coach nor appoint a new manager. 

In response to Berhalter’s disparagement of Gio Reyna during the World Cup, Danielle Reyna – Gio’s mother and former US midfielder Claudio Reyna’s wife – notified US Soccer last month of an incident in 1991 in which 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 mom Danielle (left) told US Soccer about Berhalter kicking his future wife in 1991

Reyna’s mom Danielle (left) told US Soccer about Berhalter kicking his future wife in 1991

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

Arriola revealed the coaching team had told him they would understand if he did not want to come to the training camp but the midfielder claimed he didn’t want his World Cup omission to ‘hold him back.’

‘A lot of situations that we go through, we don’t have the opportunity to dictate how they go, right?’ Arriola said Tuesday. ‘I didn’t have control whether I was going to be on the squad for the World Cup, but I did have control of how I wanted to respond.

‘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 he literally had the failure of his dreams and he chose to respond by getting up and still being willing to be a part of the program and continuing to play.’

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

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

He added: ‘The past couple weeks [before deciding], I had gotten to the point where I accepted that I didn’t make the World Cup team. And I don’t want to let that hold me back.’

‘It’s a tricky scenario [for Arriola] because I can’t imagine what he went through not going to the World Cup having been with us for such a long time,’ said Hudson, a who was a World Cup assistant. 

‘We questioned whether he would want to or how he was going to feel, but his response was as you would expect from a such a good person 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 season currently in the midst of their restart after the World Cup, many of the players from the USMNT team that went to Qatar were ineligible for a callup. 

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



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