The last time the United States hosted the World Cup, Gio Reyna wasn’t even thought of while father Claudio missed his home tournament due to a hamstring injury, and mother Danielle had made her USWNT debut a year prior.
Some 20 years on, the Reyna legacy has astoundingly continued with a boy born in Sunderland. No, seriously.
Giovanni, born in 2002, was born while Claudio was plying his trade in the northeast of England with Sunderland. The Three Lions unfortunately missed out on Gio, who had moved back to America by the time he’d turned five, and now the USMNT could not be any happier.
Well, everyone except Gregg Berhalter, who wasn’t happy with Reyna at the 2022 World Cup and felt the wrath of his family as a result.
The USA head coach questioned young Reyna’s commitment and attitude as he played just 52 minutes throughout their entire tournament in Qatar, where they were dumped out in the last 16.
Naturally, that led to some friction and a back and forth between himself and Reyna’s parents. But it appears the wounds have at least been plastered for now, and the 20-year-old Sunderland-born-American is ready to let his talent do the talking.
His absolutely mesmerising, jaw-dropping talent, might we add.
After rising through the ranks at New York City FC and representing the US at various youth levels, Borussia Dortmund gambled on his potential back in 2019, snapping up Reyna for their academy.
By the beginning of 2020, he’d made his senior debut for the club and has since steadily blossomed into the ultimate impact player at the ripe age of 20, despite having to battle with injuries.
He might not be a world-beater right now, but there’s a very important date in the calendar coming up – 2026.
In three years’ time, Reyna has the chance to do what his parents were unable to achieve and represent his country on home soil at the World Cup. Doing so would represent the ultimate full-circle moment from his struggles as a youngster out in Qatar.
And while it’s a long way off right now, if his technical skills are anything to go by, he’s destined to rip it up on home soil and be crowned the comeback king of the States in 2026.
Strutting his stuff with his bleached blonde hair against Germany in a recent friendly, his passes and playmkaing were akin to that of a prime David Beckham, but his influence on the US national team already has him living up to the ‘American Dream’ nickname once bestowed upon him by Erling Haaland.
Gio Reyna 45' vs Germany pic.twitter.com/3brVWqar7P
— breadcrumbs (@brdcrmz) October 16, 2023
At just 20, he’s already their chief creator and still has so much more to learn. The potential is frightening.
Forget American Dream, Reyna is going full Cody Rhodes and leaning into the ‘American Nightmare’ gimmick.
Is he a nightmare for Berhalter or the opposition? Probably both, which is a mighty fine combination when you’re as obscenely talented as young Reyna is already.
What stands out is his weight of pass in killer areas and – crucially – his decision making when on the ball; an attribute which was also apparent in 2022-23 when he finished with four assists and seven goals in the Bundesliga, five of which were as a substitute.
He’s already developed a killer instinct and he’s nowhere near his final form.
Give him three more years to develop, hone his craft and truly explode onto the scene in European football, and it points towards an all-timer tournament for the true American Nightmare heading into 2026, where he’ll be claiming ankles, breaking necks and splitting defensive lines for fun all across the USA and Mexico.
The talent is there and so are the keys to stardom – it’s now time to make the ascent.
By Mitch Wilks
TRY A QUIZ: