Gregg Berhalter revealed some of the reason why Gio Reyna saw limited game time at the 2022 World Cup. In fact, the United States Men’s National Team head coach says he almost sent the 20-year-old away from the team.
It is important to know that Berhalter did not explicitly mention Gio Reyna. When talking to the Summit on Moral Leadership at the HOW Institute for Society, Berhalter answered a question on dealing with difficult decisions around performance.
“In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field,” Berhalter said. “One of 26 players, so it stood out.”
Berhalter later said that coaches deliberated for hours over what to do with this player. He added that the coaches were “ready to book a plane ticket home” for the player. However, coaches had a conversation with this person, and he apologized sincerely to the team. Moreover, the team embraced the player’s challenges and behavior, saying that it “hasn’t been good enough,” according to Berhalter.
Throughout his response to the question at hand, Berhalter was careful not to name the player. However, the indication and belief across the USMNT community is that it is Gio Reyna.
Gio Reyna snubbed from playing in World Cup
Reyna is clearly a talent with important goals scored for both club and country. Still, he only saw the field for total of 52 minutes over four games at the World Cup. There were injury concerns, yes. However, rumors arose over the player’s lack of effort in training. Same goes for a pre-tournament friendly against Al-Gharafa, according to The Athletic.
After not featuring against Wales in the first matchday of the World Cup, Berhalter said Reyna did not play due to ‘hamstring tightness.’ Yet, the player himself said he was fine after playing six weeks before this with Borussia Dortmund.
Berhalter creates controversy with Gio Reyna statements
While the miscommunication from Berhalter over Reyna perhaps came from a point of protecting the player’s good will, the coach’s more recent comments seem more out of line.
Furthermore, US Soccer, which has a decision to make over the future of Berhalter as the coach of the national team, disapproved. US Soccer said the comments to Charter Works were supposed to be explicitly off the record, regardless of whether or not the coach used Reyna’s name.
Then, Reyna’s agent added his opinion on the development. Dan Segal called Berhalter’s comments disappointing and disrespectful.
Berhalter and Reyna are yet to comment on the situation as it has transpired. However, Berhalter’s contract with US Soccer ran through the 2022 World Cup.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ANP
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