Anthony Hudson explains the inclusion of Gio Reyna in the 24-player USMNT roster
United States men’s national team interim manager Anthony Hudson explained the inclusion of Giovanni Reyna in the recent 24-player roster for the upcoming Nations League matches, adding: "obviously he's a young guy who has been through a lot."
"Honestly I never felt any sort of resistance to [Reyna] coming back," Hudson said. "Obviously he's a young guy who has been through a lot. The conversations initially were, first of all, being a young man overseas, having gone through all of this, the conversation – the objective first of all was just to see how he was on a human level.”
Reyna’s call up stands as the first since the drama with former head coach Gregg Berhalter unfolded after the FIFA World Cup.
Following the team’s elimination from the international tournament, Berhalter revealed Reyna was nearly sent home due to a lack of effort in training and pre-tournament friendlies. He explained the Borussia Dortmund player’s tumultuous behavior as 'clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field', forcing the staff to come together and deliberate for hours on his future with the team.
The former manager’s comments unleashed Reyna’s parents, Claudio and Danielle. The two came out with their own statements and threats that forced Berhalter into admitting to a 30-year old domestic abuse scandal involving his now-wife Rosalind. Subsequently, the US Soccer Federation launched an investigation into the incident and related threats.
Though the independent investigation proved the situation, Gregg Berhalter has been cleared to work by the law firm that conducted the investigation. Though the 49-year-old’s contract with USMNT expired on December 31, 2022, he now remains as a 'candidate to term as head coach of the Men’s National Team'.
“Given the investigators’ conclusion that there is no legal impediment to employing him, Gregg Berhalter remains a candidate to serve as head coach of the Men’s National Team,” stated USSF.
As confirmed by the report, Claudio and Danielle Reyna had a 'pattern of periodic outreach' to U.S. Soccer officials over a six-year period from 2016 through the end of 2022 in regards to 'U.S. Soccer’s treatment of his children, including primarily his son, USMNT player Gio Reyna'. The outreach included complaints about refereeing in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, travel accommodations concerning Claudio Reyna and his son Gio, and the younger player’s role at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Given the situation, most expected Gio Reyna to take a minor break from the USMNT. But by request of Hudson, he’s back.
"Without going into details of our conversation, I think for anyone to go through that is going to be a challenge. But he seems to be in a good place in the sense that I see that he is firmly focused on his soccer, his playing and coming back into camp.” said Hudson.
"Speaking to him this week, there was no hesitation from him about coming in. He's determined to come in and do well. He's a good guy, a talented player, and as far as I'm concerned our conversations have been good and he's looking forward to coming back in."
He’ll join the American team as they return to action on March 24 when facing Grenada at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium in Saint George’s, before hosting El Salvador in Orlando, Florida at Exploria Stadium three days later.