‘He seems to be in a good place’: Gio Reyna named to USMNT’s Nations League roster
Gio Reyna may be the future of U.S. Soccer. So even though the present hasn’t been particularly kind to the talented winger, coach Anthony Hudson said he had no problems including Reyna on the 24-man roster he called up Wednesday for this month’s Nations League matches with Grenada and El Salvador.
“I never felt any sort of resistance to him coming back,” Hudson said. “He’s a young guy who has been through a lot. But he seems to be in a good place in the sense that I see that he is firmly focused on soccer. He’s determined to come in and do well.”
Reyna has been at the center of a three-month soap opera that has engulfed and embarrassed U.S. Soccer, one that began when Reyna was nearly sent home from last fall’s World Cup in Qatar because of a lack of effort during training. Reyna’s parents were so upset with their son’s treatment, they complained to U.S. Soccer officials and threatened to leak personal information about then-coach Gregg Berhalter in an effort to “take him down,” according to a report the federation commissioned.
The report, released Monday, cleared Berhalter of any wrongdoing and he remains a candidate to return to the team as coach. Reyna, meanwhile, apologized, both privately to the team and publicly on social media, although he hasn’t commented on his parents’ behavior.
A report commissioned by U.S. Soccer cleared Gregg Berhalter of any infractions and highlighted more interference by Gio Reyna’s parents.
Hudson, an assistant in Qatar who was named the caretaker coach when Berhalter’s contract expired in January, met with Reyna last month and believes it’s time for both the player and program to move on.
“We had the issue at the World Cup that we dealt with internally and there was a really positive response from Gio after that,” Hudson said. “Beyond that, it became a very, very complex issue that we see separate from Gio.”
Reyna played just 53 minutes at the World Cup, where the U.S. was eliminated by the Netherlands in the round of 16. But he has played well since returning to Borussia Dortmund, his club team in the German Bundesliga, scoring goals in his first three appearances.
“We had the issue at the World Cup that we dealt with internally and there was a really positive response from Gio after that. Beyond that it became a very, very complex issue that we see separate from Gio.”
— USMNT coach Anthony Hudson
“As far as we’re concerned, Gio is a part of our program,” Hudson continued. “We made the roster decisions based on what gives the team the best opportunity to win these games and we think he can do that.”
Results at Grenada on March 24 and against El Salvador on March 27 in Orlando would lift the U.S. into the Final Four of the Nations League and qualify it for this summer’s Gold Cup. The U.S. won both tournaments under Berhalter two years ago.
In addition to Reyna, 12 other players from the World Cup team were called up for the March games, among them Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, midfielder Weston McKennie of Leeds United and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner. Also named was Club América forward Alex Zendejas, a dual national who has decided to play for the U.S., and defender Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who both featured heavily in World Cup qualifying but weren’t on the team in Qatar.
Missing is captain Tyler Adams, who recently sustained a hamstring injury, as well as LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender Aaron Long, two of nine MLS players who were on the World Cup team. Robinson, who missed the World Cup with a torn Achilles, is the only MLS player who was called up.
Commentary: Threats and mudslinging. Damage caused by Gio Reyna’s parents will haunt U.S. Soccer
A report commissioned by U.S. Soccer proves Gio Reyna’s parents went too far in trying to bring down USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter.
MLS is not suspending its schedule for the March international break, so Hudson summoned a predominately European roster and expects to use a largely domestic one in the summer, something Berhalter did in 2021.
“It worked very well. So we were comfortable with that,” Hudson said. “Also it made sense in terms of trying to work with clubs and not overloading the players.”
Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Defenders: Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Soñora (Juárez)
Forwards: Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tim Weah (Lille), Alex Zendejas (Club América)
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