U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that it has hired a law firm to open an independent investigation into an allegation that U.S. men's national team (USMNT) coach Gregg Berhalter kicked his girlfriend in the legs in 1991.

Berhalter, in a statement Tuesday afternoon, confirmed that he kicked his now-wife Rosalind Berhalter when they had been dating for four months in college and said his actions "would shape the future of our relationship."

He further claimed that it was a case of blackmail — that the person who contacted U.S. Soccer said the information would "take (Berhalter) down."