The US soccer community was a strange place on Sunday night. Here’s an update on Gio Reyna and other Blue Notes to start off your Monday.
The Berhalter-Reyna Saga Continues
***UPDATE: Gio responded on Instagram.
USMNT Twitter was sent into a frenzy on Sunday after new stories and rumors emerged about Giovanni Reyna. Gregg Berhalter was quoted, in a now deleted newsletter from Charterworks, while speaking at a leadership conference.
“In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field,” Berhalter said. “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.
“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, ‘OK, this guy is 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.
“As a coach, the way you can deal with things most appropriately is going back to your values. Because it’s difficult to send a player home. It was going to be a massive controversy. You would have been reading about it for five days straight. But we were prepared to do it, because he wasn’t meeting the standards of the group, and the group was prepared to do it as well.”
Bogert was first to say the player was Reyna.
It only got more interesting from there. Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal confirmed and added much more to the story in this article from The Athletic.
US Soccer told them everything at the conference was supposed to be “explicitly off the record”. They also report that Reyna was nearly sent home from the World Cup, and had to apologize to the team for a lack of effort.
There were also rumors of a player vote, which Twellman squashed.
To clarify the story going around re: Gio— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 12, 2022
There was NO player vote taken regarding his status with the team. The storyline of “13-12” is wrong confirmed to me just moments ago.
There was a vote among the staff who worked for GB including fitness personnel & asst coaches.
From there, the notorious USMNT online community turned into a strange place. There was a wild twitter space, a lot of very questionable accounts from sources basically amounting to “I know a guy”, and essentially an overarching descent into chaos.
But it was really fun to watch with some popcorn.
I’m torn on this one. In trying to gather a broad idea of what actually happened, I think you can surmise Berhalter & the coaching staff actually handled an ugly situation quite well. All staff seemed to be included and there was open communication with a leadership group of players.
However, these comments are now public. It doesn’t matter how it happened, this is a major, major gaff.
We’re left with a really unfortunate situation that sucks a lot of the hope and excitement this team built over the last month. A 20-year-old kid, who may very well have the most potential of any American player ever, starts off his national team career with a very public black mark.
What do you think? Is this Reyna’s own doing? Is it Gregg’s fault?
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