While Jadon Sancho is considering a move to United, 17-year-old American midfielder Giovanni Reyna is establishing himself in Dortmund. On October 4, in Saturday’s match against Freiburg, the American prodigy replaced Sancho on the pitch. In the starting line-up, he distributed three assists and also became the best in selections and successful strokes. In this article, we will talk about the talented American, whom the Borussia Dortmund fans saw off the field with applause.
Tragedy in the family and coming to the New York City academy
Reyna was born into a football family. His father, Claudio Reyna, played as a midfielder for Rangers, Sunderland, Manchester City, and other clubs. And her mother, Daniel Egan, played for the U.S. women’s team. Giovanni was born in 2002 in Sunderland when his father played for the Black Cats. Claudio named his son after former Rangers team-mate Giovanni van Bronckhorst. In 2007, the family moved to the United States, where Claudio signed with the New York Red Bulls.
When Gio turned ten, the family had a great tragedy. His older brother Jack died at the age of 13 from brain cancer. The brothers were very close, often playing American football, basketball, or football.
Of course, such a tragedy became a part of Giovanni’s life. It is not a surprising fact because the brothers had a very close relationship and at some point, it determined his career even more.
Three years after his brother’s death, Gio began training at the New York City Academy, where his father worked as a sports director. In the first match of the youth, he scored a hat-trick, and head coach Patrick Vieira compared Reyna to David Trezeguet, a prophetic young footballer with a great future. The young Americans continued to shine, which drew the attention of European clubs.
Why did Giovanni choose Dortmund?
Dortmund scouts first saw the player in action at a tournament in Philadelphia in the fall of 2017. Giovanni himself claims that he became interested in several European clubs after a successful performance in Florida as part of the U.S. national under-16 team. Borussia Dortmund followed his development closely and waited until he was 17. Even then Reyna attracted the attention of scouts Ajax, Bayern, and several English Premier League clubs.
Another reason for joining Dortmund was a factor in Haaland and Sancho. When you have such young players in the team it is always encouraging for other players to join. In particular, Haaland’s factor was more motivating for Reyna. As soon as the latter appeared in the starting lineup Norwegian immediately became a mentor-like figure for the youngster. Haaland himself is very young but he has far more experience, let alone he scored a lot of goals in the Champions League. Their tandem quickly became an interesting subject for the Norwegian odds pages, known among local citizens as odds sider, who started featuring both of the players in duo. And as Haaland was a pivotal figure in increasing the popularity of Dortmund in Norway, Gio has also become a loveable figure in Scandinavia.
As soon as the footballer turned 17, Reyna was granted Portuguese citizenship, thanks to his grandmother, who had Portuguese roots. Gio himself accepted the offer of Dortmund, who set an example to the young player the career development of Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele, and Jadon Sancho.
Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre immediately began to involve the American player in training with the first team. But Giovanni managed to make his Bundesliga debut only in early 2020 when he moved to the main line-up of the club. He appeared on the pitch against Augsburg (3-5) at the age of 17 years and 66 days, becoming the youngest American ever to play in the German league.
Two weeks later, Giovanni Reina scored the first goal in a Dortmund shirt in a cup game against Werder Bremen (3-2). This time he became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the German Cup.
Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, impressed by the performance of his team-mate, crumbled in compliments to Gio, calling him the “American Dream.”
Erling said that while “he’s only 17 years old, at such a young age, Gio is so calm to handle the ball and play for such a big team”. Indeed, It’s very interesting to see how calm he is. Reyna is not worried at all, he just breaks into the match. He’s a terrific talent. It’s a good thing he’s in a proper team. Reyna can enter the elite of world football.
This season Favre has continued to involve the 17-year-old in the starting line-up. In the 1st round match of the Bundesliga against Borussia Monchengladbach (3-0), Giovanni took the field in the starting line-up, scored his debut goal in the German league, and earned a penalty, which was successfully scored by Erling Haaland. Most interestingly, 17-year-old footballer Jude Bellingham also gave the assist to Reyna.
Last Saturday, Gio recalled himself, giving up three assists against Freiburg (4-0). The young American assisted Haaland twice and gave another assist to Emre Can. According to WhoScored, Giovanni was the best in the number of selections (4) and successful strokes (4), receiving the highest score for the match – 9.8.
Reyna wants to play for the U.S. national team
Giovanni Reyna had several options for which country to represent internationally: Argentina (because of his father’s family), England (born there), Portugal (has citizenship of this country), and the United States.
In March of this year, Giovanni made a choice, making it clear that he wanted to play only for the U.S. national team.
The 17-year-old said that everything was clear to me and he will only play for the United States of America because it is his home.
Gio has already been involved in the U.S. youth team, and now looks forward to being called up to the country’s main team.
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