USMNT forward Gio Reyna took to Instagram where he called out the team’s manager Gregg Berhalter for airing dirty laundry after the team’s 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands at the World Cup.
Following the team’s defeat, Berhalter wrote a newsletter for Charter Works where he discussed handling difficult decisions around performance and specifically discussed a player at this World Cup.
In the newsletter, Berhalter wrote, “In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field. One of 26 players, so it stood out. As a staff, we sat together for hours deliberating what we were going to do with this player. We were ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was.”
“And what it came down to was, we’re going to have one more conversation with him, and part of the conversation was how we’re going to behave from here out. There aren’t going to be any more infractions.”
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Berhalter continued, “But the other thing we said to him was, you’re going to have to apologize to the group, but it’s going to have to say why you’re apologizing. It’s going to have to go deeper than just ‘Guys, I’m sorry.'”
“And I prepped the leadership group with this. I said, ‘Okay, this guy’s going to apologize to you as a group, to the whole team.’ And what was fantastic in this whole thing is that after he apologized, they stood up one by one and said, ‘Listen, it hasn’t been good enough, You haven’t been meeting our expectations of a teammate and we want to see change.’ They really took ownership of that process. And from that day on there were no issues with this player,” he concluded.
It is believed this player was Gio Reyna, who issued a response to Berhalter’s comments on Instagram.
Reyna began, “I hoped not to comment on matters at the World Cup. It is my belief that things that happen in a team setting ought to remain private. That being said, statements have been made that reflect on my professionalism and character, so I feel the need to make a brief statement.”
He then relayed, “Just before the World Cup, Coach Berhalter told me that my role at the tournament would be very limited. I was devasted. I am someone who plays with pride and passion. Soccer is my life, and I believe in my abilities. I fully expected and desperately wanted to contribute to the play of a talented group as we tried to make a statement at the World Cup.”
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Reyna continued, “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 about my limited role. I apologized to my teammates and coach for this, and I was told I was forgiven. Thereafter, I shook off my disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the field.”
“I am disappointed that there is continuing coverage of this matter (as well as some highly fictionalized versions of events) and extremely surprised that anyone on the U.S. men’s team staff would contribute to it,” he stated.
Reyna concluded, “Coach Berhalter has always said that issues that arise with the team will stay “in house” so we can focus on team unity and progress. I love my team, I love representing my country, and I am focusing now only on improving and growing as a soccer player and a person. I hope that going forward each person involved in U.S. Soccer focuses only on what is in the best interest of the men’s national team so we can enjoy great success at the World Cup in 2026.”
Reyna appeared in only two matches in the World Cup. He appeared in the draw against England and in the losing effort against the Netherlands.
The decision to not have Reyna play more left many analysts and fans questioning Berhalter’s tactics especially following the game against Wales when he indicated the reason to not play Reyna was due to “a little bit of [muscle] tightness.” Reyna disputed that saying he “definitely felt 100%.”
When not competing for the United States, Reyna plays in Germany’s Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund and is a very talented striker. In the 2022-23 season he made three starts out of the team’s 10 matches and scored two goals.
What do you make of Reyna’s response to Berhalter?
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