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Gio Reyna returns to USMNT amid ‘complex situation’ engulfing family and coach

Gio Reyna is at the center of an embarrassing episode for U.S. Soccer. (Jose Breton/AP Photo)
5 min

In deciding to invite Gio Reyna back to the U.S. men’s national soccer team, interim coach Anthony Hudson said he separated the concerns tied to the 20-year-old attacker’s behavior at the 2022 World Cup from the subsequent maelstrom involving his parents and former coach Gregg Berhalter.

“We had the issue at the World Cup that we dealt with internally,” Hudson said Wednesday after naming a 24-man squad, which includes Reyna, to training camp next week. “And then the World Cup ended, and it became a very, very complex situation that we see separate from Gio, even though he’s impacted by it.”

To Hudson, the matter in Qatar had been put to rest long ago; Reyna apologized to his teammates for his behavior before the tournament, which contributed to him playing in only two of four matches.

Hudson, though, also needed to gauge whether the public rift between the once-close Reyna and Berhalter families after the World Cup — and the findings of an investigation, released Monday — had taken a toll on the player.

Hudson recently visited Reyna in Germany, where he plays for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, and spoke to him on the phone multiple times since then.

He declined to go into detail about their conversations but said: “He’s in a good place. He’s determined to come back in and do well and help the team.”

An ugly rift between two U.S. soccer families bursts into public

Reyna has not commented on the investigation or his return to the national team. He was among 13 players from the World Cup squad named to the roster for Concacaf Nations League matches March 24 at Grenada and March 27 against El Salvador in Orlando.

It’s the first opportunity for top European-based players to rejoin the national team since the 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the World Cup’s round of 16 on Dec. 3.

In Qatar, Berhalter and his staff grew so concerned about Reyna’s effort and performance in training and a scrimmage that they considered sending him home. The lack of playing time prompted his mother, Danielle, to tip off the U.S. Soccer Federation to a domestic violence incident in Berhalter’s past.

An independent investigation into both the Berhalter matter and the Reynas’ angry communication with U.S. officials was launched. Despite the controversy, Hudson said Gio Reyna is eager to rejoin the squad.

“He is firmly focused on his soccer, his playing and coming back into camp,” Hudson said. “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.”

Reyna is a big part of the U.S. youth movement aiming to make a deep run at the 2026 World Cup, hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada. When healthy, he has shown world-class skills and the ability to influence games.

U.S. Soccer: ‘No legal impediment’ to rehiring Gregg Berhalter as USMNT coach

Hudson replaced Berhalter, whose contract expired Dec. 31. In the wake of the investigation — which found Berhalter has not acted violently since an incident with his now-wife 31 years ago — the USSF says he remains a candidate.

A decision on the next coach is not expected until the USSF hires a sporting director to oversee all national teams. Earnie Stewart resigned that post this winter.

The U.S. team (1-0-1 in Nations League group play) will gather in Orlando on Monday before facing Grenada (0-2-1) and El Salvador (1-0-2). The winner of the group will advance to the semifinals in early June, and the top two will secure a place in the Concacaf Gold Cup this summer.

Half the World Cup squad has been summoned, including Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Matt Turner. Captain Tyler Adams was not called in because of a hamstring injury, according to Leeds United, his Premier League team.

Three of the World Cup roster cuts were invited: goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Mark McKenzie and forward Ricardo Pepi, who has 10 goals in 22 matches across all competitions for Dutch side Groningen.

From Rockville to Bahrain, USMNT interim coach Anthony Hudson has paid dues

Two players from the winter training camp in California — in which the top European-based players weren’t available — will return: midfielder Alan Soñora and forward Alex Zendejas, a dual national who this week chose the U.S. program over Mexico’s.

Because MLS is not pausing the season during this international window, just one player was selected: Atlanta center back Miles Robinson, who was on track to make the World Cup squad until he ruptured an Achilles’ tendon last May.

Striker Daryl Dike, who wasn’t considered for the World Cup squad because of injuries, will reenter the mix for the first time since summer 2021. He has scored seven goals in 19 matches for West Brom, an English second-flight club.

English-based center back Auston Trusty, 24, and Dutch-based winger Taylor Booth, 21, are seeking to make their senior debuts.

U.S. Roster

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal).

Defenders: Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Mönchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City).

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Soñora (Juárez).

Forwards: Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Brom), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tim Weah (Lille), Alex Zendejas (Club América).