Kyle Bonagura, ESPN Staff WriterJan 19, 2024, 01:33 PM ET
CloseCovers the Pac-12.Joined ESPN in 2014.Attended Washington State University.
United States men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter said he supports attacking midfielder Gio Reyna’s intent to find regular playing time away from Borussia Dortmund.
Reyna, who has played just 320 minutes in all competitions this season, is determined to leave Dortmund this month, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens.
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“I think that any professional who is competitive wants to be on the field and this is a case where Gio hasn’t been getting the game time that he wants and potentially looking for alternate options and that’s completely understandable,” said Berhalter, speaking ahead of Saturday’s international friendly against Slovenia.
“You’ve seen in our player pool throughout the years, that’s a pretty common reaction. So, we support him and his quest to get on the field regularly and looking forward to the outcome of that.”
Reyna, who is under contract with Dortmund until June 2025, has been offered to several top European clubs, including Marseille, Monaco and Lyon in France; Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Villarreal in Spain; and Portugal’s Benfica, sources said.
Gregg Berhalter has been coach of the USMNT since 2018, barring a short hiatus at the beginning of 2023. Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images
Reyna featured twice for the USMNT in 2023, playing 45 minutes in friendlies against Germany and Ghana in October. He is expected to return to the squad on March 21 for the Concacaf Nations League semifinal against Jamaica.
This summer marks an important one for Berhalter’s team, as the U.S. is hosting this year’s edition of the Copa America, starting in late June.
On Saturday, the team hosts Slovenia in its annual January camp match, which has traditionally given up-and-coming players a chance to acclimate to the national team environment. There are 16 uncapped players on the roster, many of whom are expected to compete for roster spots on this summer’s U-3 Olympic team.
The prospect of multiple players from this group breaking through with the first team in time for the 2026 World Cup, also on home soil, are not as likely.
“It would be great if we had this whole crop of guys that are coming in and really pushing to be starters, but two things we have to remember is that development takes time,” Berhalter said. “We still have two and a half years. I’m sure there are players that will emerge that we’re not even on the radar right now. And the second thing would be is we have a strong starting 11 and it’s really hard to displace some of those players.
“You think about the clubs they’re playing at, the impact they’ve made on the international scene and the club scene for the last four years. It becomes more challenging when you have those high profile players. But we’re confident that between the Olympics and all the youth development initiatives in the next couple of years, that we will see players really step up and emerge and make a case to be on the 2026 team.”
Since 1999, 30 players who have debuted or earned their second cap in a January friendly went on to make a World Cup roster in their career, including nine players from the 2022 World Cup roster.