Giovanni Reyna is an American professional soccer player currently representing the Bundesliga club, Borussia Dortmund, and the United States Men's National Soccer Team. At only twenty years old, Reyna is already a key member for both his club Dortmund and country. Reyna has featured in some big Champions league nights for Dortmund and gained playing time in the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup for the USMNT. Reyna is a talented midfielder and has been compared to the famed Diego Maradona by his National Team coach Gregg Behalter for his dribbling and passing.
Berhalter was the USMNT’s coach and led the team to their first ever victory of the CONCACAF Nations League in 2021 and their seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup. Under Behalter’s leadership, the USMNT also qualified for the FIFA Men’s World Cup for the first time in eight years.
Though the star-studded USMNT team included Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, Walker Zimmerman, Pulisic, and Weah, Reyna did not earn a spot on the starting eleven. The team’s coach, Berhalter, was determined to keep Reyna on the sidelines for the duration of the tournament. Chaos ensued when Reyna claimed—contrary to claims made by Berhalter—that he was fit and ready to play.
Reyna’s comments did not help his case in getting game time during the World Cup; if anything, it reduced it even further. After USMNT’s exit from the World Cup, Danielle Reyna, mother to Reyna and college roommate to Berhalter’s wife, said to Fox Sports that Berhlater kicked his wife. But Danielle Reyna also stated, “I gave grace to Berhaler, and his kids, and expected him to show the same grace to Gio.”
Following the tournament, Berhalter gave an interview about the USMNT in general but also spoke about the ‘Reyna case,’ as a lot of fans in the US were questioning his decision on limiting the role of a player of Reyna’s caliber. In the interview Berhalter mentioned an ‘unnamed player’ whom the entire USMNT staff in Qatar wanted to go back to the US. He also denied any possibilities of cutting Reyna’s game time due to his personal issues with the Reyna family.
The interview did not serve neither Reyna nor Berhalter well. Feeling targeted by both his fans and coach, Reyna made a post on Instagram, stating that the story of the player in contention to be sent home was “fictionalized” and that he hoped USMNT would keep the matter “in house.”
Following the post, the USMNT fanbase further turned against Berhalter. Many fans had already wanted him gone before the World Cup; the way he handled the situation with Reyna just solidified their belief as to why they need a managerial change. As of today, polls show that over 70 percent of USMNT fans do not want Berhlater to sign a renewal of his contract with USMNT, which expired last month. The USMNT Federation is now in search of an elite manager who can handle this special group of players and make them serious contenders for the World Cup in 2026.