The Washington Post

Reyna, at center of feud, is returning to U.S. team

- BY STEVEN GOFF

Amid a firestorm featuring his parents and World Cup coach, Gio Reyna accepted an invitation to return to the U.S. men’s national soccer team next week, people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Reyna, 20, will report to training camp in Orlando — the first gathering of top European-based players since the World Cup in November and December — for Concacaf Nations League matches at Grenada on March 24 and against El Salvador on March 27 in Orlando.

U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Michael Kammarman said the governing body will not comment on the roster until it’s released Wednesday. Reyna’s agent, Dan Segal, said he did not want to comment.

Reyna and other marquee U.S. players last appeared with the national squad against the Netherland­s on Dec. 3 in the World Cup’s round of 16. Under normal circumstan­ces, Reyna’s selection for camp would not garner much added attention; when healthy, he has been a regular with the national team for more than two years.

But this call-up comes the same week the findings of a multi-layer investigat­ion exposed friction between World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter and the Reyna family — a rift that erupted during and after the tournament in Qatar, left Berhalter’s employment in limbo and raised questions about Gio Reyna’s future with the national team.

Anthony Hudson, a World Cup assistant, is running the team while the USSF decides whether to offer Berhalter a new contract or look elsewhere for a coach to begin preparing the program for the 2026 World Cup.

Hudson had remained open to Reyna returning this month and even visited him a few weeks ago in Germany, where the attacker plays for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

Reyna (four goals in 16 U.S. appearance­s) is part of a young group of players competing for prominent clubs overseas who have raised hopes for a deep run in the next World Cup, which will take place in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The controvers­y involving Berhalter and the Reynas began in the days before the World Cup. According to the report released Monday, Berhalter and U.S. officials grew concerned over Gio Reyna’s effort and performanc­e in training and a scrimmage. They considered sending him home, but after conversati­ons with the player and Gio Reyna’s apology to his teammates, they allowed him to stay.

Reyna not only did not start the group opener against Wales, he did not play. At the time, Berhalter alluded to fitness and tactical issues.

Behind the scenes, the report stated, Gio’s parents, Claudio and Danielle, were furious, and Danielle Reyna told a USSF employee that she could “take [Berhalter] down.”

Gio Reyna ended up playing in just two of four matches, both as a sub totaling less than 60 minutes.

Three days after the U.S. team was eliminated, at what he was told was an off-the-record speech in New York, Berhalter raised the issues he had with a World Cup player, though he did not name him.

After the transcript went public, Gio Reyna said on his Instagram page, “It is my belief that things that happen in a team setting ought to remain private” and “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.”

Danielle Reyna contacted Earnie Stewart, the USSF’S sporting director, and shared informatio­n about Berhalter kicking his nowwife when they were University of North Carolina students.

The report from the recent investigat­ion said Berhalter was remorseful and no other incidents have occurred.

The Berhalters and Reynas had been close for decades. Gregg Berhalter and Claudio Reyna were high school and World Cup teammates, and Reyna was the best man at Berhalter’s wedding. Rosalind Berhalter and Danielle Reyna grew up together on Long Island and were roommates and teammates on the UNC soccer team.

In the report, Berhalter told investigat­ors the wives had spoken on the phone daily “for decades.” After the Wales match, the interactio­n “ended immediatel­y.”

Note: The United States and Mexico will renew their rivalry with an April 19 friendly in Glendale, Ariz., the USSF announced. The date does not fall inside a FIFA window for internatio­nal matches, so few European-based players will be available.

 ?? JABIN Botsford/the Washington POST ?? Gio Reyna, left, will report to the U.S. men’s national team training camp in Orlando this month.
JABIN Botsford/the Washington POST Gio Reyna, left, will report to the U.S. men’s national team training camp in Orlando this month.

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