Gio Reyna to Join US Men’s National Soccer Team

Gio Reynais movin’ on up…

United States manager Gregg Berhalter has confirmed that the 17-year-old part-Argentine American soccer player and Borussia Dortmund midfielder will be called up to the senior team for the March international window.

Gio Reyna

Earlier, Reyna was named to a 50-man provisional roster for the Olympicqualifying tournament, which spans beyond the March international window. But Berhalter, speaking at a reporters’ roundtable during MLS Media Day, stated that Dortmund wouldn’t allow Reyna to be released for the Olympic qualifying tournament, and that his performances warranted getting called up to the full team.

Reyna, the son of former U.S. internationalClaudio Reynalast week became the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 dayswith an impressive performance that included an assist in BVB‘s 2-1 home victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

“We want our younger players performing and playing at a high level, and [Reyna] is doing that,” said Berhalter. “And as a result of him doing that he gets an opportunity with the first team.”

Reyna has made immense strides this season, even as the U.S.Under-17team exited the group stage at the FIFA U17 World Cuplast fall. Berhalter chalked that up to Reyna finding a rhythm within the Dortmund team. The previous season Reyna had to wait until he received his European passport before he could begin playing official games for the club at youth level.

“It was a very choppy year for him in terms of his development,” said Berhalter. “And I think we saw some of that at the U17 [World Cup]. You could tell he didn’t have rhythm.

This year Reyna has had more of an opportunity to settle in and rise through the ranks of the team.

“You can see [Reyna] has rhythm now and he has a good understanding of what the team wants to do. And they’re using him in a way where you know they’re not asking him to take full responsibility in terms of he doesn’t have to carry a team. He’s playing a role, and he’s executing his role.”

The result has been that Reyna’s qualities have shown through.

“[Reyna’s] position when he gets the ball in the pocket, his awareness to turn and his efficiency when he’s turning his excellent,” said Berhalter. “He doesn’t waste any touches turning, he turns right away. The second thing is his ball security under pressure is phenomenal.”

Now Berhalter must try to figure out Reyna’s best position, although he concedes it’s a nice dilemma to face.

“I can see [Reyna] playing as a winger. I can see him playing potentially as a No. 10 and a 4-3-3,” said Berhalter. “He can play a number of different positions. I like him being able to affect the game on the offensive side, similar to Christian[Pulisic]. They’ve been using him on the left. He can also play on the right so I think he gives you flexibility.”

Gio Reyna Becomes Youngest American to Play in the Champions League

Gio Reyna’s name has been etched in the soccer history books…

The 17-year-old part-Argentine American soccer player made his Champions League debut on Tuesday for Borussia Dortmund against Paris Saint-Germain, becoming the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 days.

Gio Reyna

Reyna was promoted to the Dortmund senior squad in January after only having joined the club’s academy in the summer of 2019 and has since gained game time in every match. 

A member of the U.S. squad at last year’s Under-17 World Cup, Reyna made his senior team debut for Dortmund on January 18 in a Bundesliga match at Augsburg.

Reyna had already scored in Dortmund’s German Cupdefeat at Werder Bremenearlier this month, but was instrumental for his side on Tuesday as he set up Erling Haaland’s second goal in a 2-1 first-leg win over PSG.

At 17 years, 3 months. 5 days, Reyna bettered the mark for youngest American set by Gedion Zelalemwhen he played for Arsenalat 17 years, 317 days old. Chelsea star Christian Pulisicwas four days shy of his 18th birthday when he made his Champions League debut while with Dortmund in a group phase opener at Legia Warsawin 2016. Pulisic started and assisted on Dortmund’s fifth goal in a 6-0 win.

His father, USMNTgreat Claudio Reyna, appeared in eight Champions League group phase matches for Glasgow Rangersin 1999 and 2000 and also scored a key goal in a Champions League qualifier in 1999 against UEFA Cupchampion Parma. Claudio scored eight goals in 112 appearances for the U.S. from 1994 to 2006, appearing in three World Cups. Gio Reyna’s mother, Danielle Egan Reyna, scored one goal in six appearances for the U.S. women’s side in 2003.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s match, Gio Reyna said he was proud the team got such an important victory and of his assist to Haaland for the winner, only two minutes after Neymar levelled the score.

“A lot of emotions are going through my head right now,” he said. “To get my Champions League debut against Paris was a dream come true for me. To get an assist was even better.

“We knew Paris are such a good team. And the result is the most important thing. The way we fought as a team was so impressive,” he said. “Our work ethic and our will to win games really showed tonight.”

“It’s a super pass from Reyna,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favresaid of the ball that set up Haaland’s goal. “He plays it in brilliantly. He orients the ball very, very quickly.