Gio Reyna’s time with the United States men’s team during the World Cup was bewildering.
The 20-year-old upstart was expected to make a big impact at the tournament in Qatar, as the Americans sported one of the youngest teams on the field. However, Reyna only appeared in the group stage match against England and the round of 16 match against the Netherlands, amassing 53 minutes.
On Sunday, ESPN reported that USA coach Gregg Berhalter was ready to send Reyna home for an alleged lack of effort in training camp by the young player. Berhalter suggested last week that there was a player that the organization was “ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was.”
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Multiple reports suggested that it was Reyna. After the USA’s loss to the Dutch in the knockout stage, Reyna was reportedly seen wearing a Netherlands jersey at a club.
On Monday, Reyna broke her silence on the story to address statements made “that reflect my professionalism and character.”
“Just before the World Cup, Coach Berhalter told me that my role in the tournament would be very limited. I was devastated,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am someone who plays with pride and passion. Soccer is my life and I believe in my abilities. I was hoping and desperately wanted to contribute to the game of a talented group as we tried to make a statement at the World Cup.”
He admitted that he let his emotions and frustrations get the best of him.
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“I am also a very emotional person, and I fully acknowledge that I let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behavior for a few days after learning of my limited role. I have apologized to my teammates and the coach for this. … and they told me I was forgiven. From then on, I shook off the disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the pitch.”
“I am disappointed that there is continued coverage of this matter (as well as some highly fictitious versions of events) and extremely surprised that anyone on the USA Men’s Team staff would contribute to it. Coach Berhalter has always said that the issues that arise with the team will remain “at home” so that we can focus on the unity and progress of the team I love my team, I love representing my country and now I am focusing only on improving and growing as a player of soccer and as a person going forward, every single person involved in US Soccer is focused only on what’s best for the men’s national team so that we can enjoy great World Cup success in 2026.”
It is not clear what the next step will be for both parties.
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Berhalter is reportedly negotiating his next contract, while Reyna will return to Dortmund in Germany’s Bundesliga to finish the 2022-23 season.