Gio Reyna apologized to USMNT during World Cup for his lack of effort, sources say

Multiple sources close to the U.S. men’s national team offered details Athletic That helps explain striker Gio Reyna’s absence from the World Cup.

The source, who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said Reyna showed an appalling lack of training ahead of the US’s opening game against Wales on November 21, including against Wales. Qatari club Al Gharafa SC, 17 November. Reyna’s lack of intensity in the scrimmage — sources said he was walking up and down the field all the time in what was supposed to be a tight game — created a lot of frustration within the team. The lack of effort was so evident that it was not clear whether Reyna was protecting himself from injury or simply frustrated that he couldn’t be a starter against Wales.

Reyna, who made a fuss against Wales when he threw away his shin guards after not being substituted, then entered the post-Wales training session with another lack of effort from Reyna. That prompted several senior players to talk to Reina, including DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, who pulled him aside and urged him to show more effort and move forward.

Sources said the situation became unsustainable and had to be resolved multiple times, including with the coaching staff, until finally, Reyna stood up before the video conference, apologized to his teammates for his initial lack of intensity and said he understood he was A member of a collective group. After the apology, several players on the team spoke out and demanded that Reyna be held accountable for his actions. Sources say the players believe the organization and its culture will be able to overcome the problems following Reyna’s apology, with the 20-year-old’s training efforts turning a corner. Within the team, Reyna’s problems were over, sources said.

US coach Gregg Berhalter appeared to mention Reyna’s situation at the HOW Social Ethical Leadership Summit in New York last Tuesday, but did not name the players, a comment published in this week’s Charterworks newsletter.

“At the last World Cup we had a player who clearly didn’t live up to expectations on and off the pitch,” Berhalter said. “One of 26 players so it stood out. As a staff we sat together for hours thinking about what we were going to do with this player. We were going to book a ticket home, it was extreme “Yes. At the end of the day, we’re going to have another conversation with him, and part of that conversation is how we behave from now on. There will be no more violations.”

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“But the other thing we said to him was that you’re going to have to apologize to the team, but they have to say why you’re apologizing. It has to go deeper than just ‘Guys, I’m sorry. ’ I prepared the leadership group for this. I said, ‘Well, this guy is going to apologize to your entire team. The amazing thing about this whole thing is that after he apologized, they all stood up one by one and said, ‘Listen. “, it wasn’t good enough. You didn’t live up to our expectations of our teammates and we wanted to see change. They really took control of the process. From that day on, there was no problem with this player.

“As a coach, the most appropriate way to deal with things is to return to your values. Because it is difficult to send players home. It will be a huge controversy. You will read it for five days in a row. But we are ready Because he doesn’t meet the standards of the team and the team is ready.”

Multiple attempts to contact Reyna’s representative were not immediately successful.

Some of Reyna’s problems were leaked to the public during the game after he did not play against Wales.

With the United States leading 1-0, Berhalter used his first four substitutes before opting to replace winger Jordan Morris for Tim Weah after Wales equalized in the 82nd minute. After the game, Berhalter explained his decision to choose Morris over Reina, saying: “At the stage of the game we were in, we took Jordan and we thought he could bring us speed and strength.” He noted that the team had carried out a “last-minute check” on Reyna and deemed him “okay” and said he envisioned him playing a role in the United States’ second group game against England.

Asked to clarify the purpose of the last-minute check, Berhalter said that during the scrimmage with Al Gharafa a few days ago, “you could see a bit of tension” that the team had been “developing him” and that “we thought he could Playing a big part in this tournament – the question is when, hopefully on Friday (against England) he’ll be one step ahead.”

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Minutes later, Reyna told reporters in the mixed zone that he was fully recovered.

“I feel good, I’m ready,” Reyna said. “But it’s just his decision.”

On the day of the England game, former U.S. national team striker Eric Winalda referred to Reyna’s lack of playing time in a Twitter space with Los Angeles Times columnist Dylan Hernandez. Wynalda claimed there was an “internal conflict” within the team due to Berhalter’s decision not to play Reyna. He also claims that Berhalter lied to the media when he told reporters after the Wales game that he kept Reina out because of an injury. Wijnalda claimed he had spoken to Gio’s father, Claudio, the former Captain America, a childhood friend of Berhalter’s and his teammate at multiple World Cups.

“Now that Gio Reyna is out of the lineup, it’s causing a huge controversy within the team – even his own teammates want him to play, which seems to be (resulting) with (the team) and the manager Gray Gregg Berhalter’s internal conflict,” Winalda said. “I don’t know how much I should comment on this, but for the past few hours I’ve been trying to comfort Gio’s father Claudio, well, everything that has happened in the past few days. The media lied about the injury and asked the player to accept that story, which caused a rift between the two of them and now he’s on the bench, which is really unfortunate. This situation should have been handled very differently.”

Wynalda slightly retracted his original comment In a tweet posted to his account the day after his initial comment.

Berhalter was not asked about Wynalda’s claims at a news conference before or after the England game, although he clarified in his response that it was “the coach’s decision” not to play Reyna against Wales. Reina played seven minutes against England. Berhalter was then asked ahead of the Iran game whether there had been any rift between him and Gio Reyna, and whether he had lied to the media as Wynalda said and instructed Reyna to tell reporters he was injured after the Wales game.

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“Speaking of a four-year journey, yes, four more years to interact with you (the press corps). What I’m going to say is, you know, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not I ask Gio to lie,” Berhalter said . “That’s not me. That’s not what I stand for. So, you know, if you have to take Eric’s word or my word or whatever, don’t worry, but I know what happened, that’s not what I stand for. And other As a human being, Gio is part of this team that we care deeply about and we know we can help. The question is when and how he can help us.”

Shortly after that response, Wynalda walked back further on his original statement on his SiriusXM show.

Reyna did not feature against Iran on November 29 as the US held on to a slender 1-0 lead in the second half.

“I think it depends a lot on the timing and the circumstances,” Berhalter said ahead of the last-16 tie against the Netherlands. later took the lead in the race. The only game where we didn’t have that situation, we actually put him in to help get the win. So this is how we use him in the most effective way. Really talented players, we’re looking for the right moment. But there’s no question he can help his team. “

Berhalter did use Reyna more in Team USA’s Dec. 3 loss to the Netherlands. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, he brought Dortmund’s striker on in the second half and then moved him wide as he inserted center forward Haji Wright. Reina largely failed to make an impact in the game, ending his campaign In the first World Cup, a total of 52 minutes were played as the US team was eliminated after scoring just three goals in four games.

Reina Goal for Dortmund Rapid Bucharest, fourth-placed side of the Romanian Superliga, played a shortened 60-minute friendly against Rapid Bucharest in the “Christmas Cup” in Bucharest on Saturday.

(Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images; Design: Eamonn Dalton)


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