US players welcome Gio Reyna after World Cup flap, Ream says

DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) — Gio Reyna was welcomed back to the U.S. national team by Tim Ream, one of the group’s oldest players, after the young midfielder’s family sparked a feud with Gregg Berhalter that left the coach’s future uncertain let.

After Berhalter used Reyna sparingly at the World Cup, the player’s parents, former US captain Claudio Reyna and former women’s player Danielle Egan Reyna, informed the US Soccer Association of a 1992 domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman were whom he later married – Danielle Egan’s former college roommate.

The USSF hired a law firm to investigate and named Anthony Hudson interim coach after Berhalter’s contract expired on December 31. The law firm said there was no legal obstacle to keeping Berhalter, who remains a candidate, and that the USSF had postponed a coaching decision until a new athletic director is expected to be hired this summer.

Gio Reyna is among 24 players in camp ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF Nations League games in Grenada and Monday in Orlando against El Salvador.

“The biggest thing is to make sure everyone knows we’re here for a reason and what happened to Gio in the past is past and what happened at the World Cup happened at the World Cup and we moved on as players . ‘ said the 35-year-old Ream on Tuesday.

“I think the biggest thing for us as a leader and all the guys at camp is to see that he’s working hard, training hard, he wants to be here and up to that point it’s only been positive,” Ream said. “By talking to different people, everyone knows what they can bring to the table, everyone knows how talented they are. And to see him come here with that attitude and the pace of work and the desire to be a part of the group and come back fairly without having to over-address it was a huge advantage for all the guys.”

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Reyna was not among the four players made available to media by the USSF in Monday and Tuesday Zoom sessions. The USSF did not respond to an email asking if Reyna would be made available this week.

Reyna made two substitute appearances totaling 52 minutes during the World Cup and Berhalter told a management conference he nearly sent a player home for a lack of hustle – remarks Reyna admitted were aimed at him.

“I’ve had one-on-one talks with him. Those will stay between him and me because I think it’s important to have that kind of communication and trust between players, teammates and groups,” Ream said. “What he’s feeling, what he’s seeing, what his concerns might be, will stay between him and me because I think that’s important for him to be able to get over everything that’s happened. And I think it’s important that we can all move beyond that and work together as a good team.”

Berhalter was discontinued in December 2018 after the USA failed to qualify for that year’s World Cup. He said last week he’s keeping his job options open.

“Bringing him back is a familiarity,” Ream said, citing “the togetherness he brought to the team after it was very, very sporadic and broken when he first came on.”

“He laid and laid very good foundations for the team,” Ream said. “Obviously if they bring him back we will continue to work under him and if they don’t we will continue to work under someone else. And that’s just the nature of what we do as players. That is the nature of sport. Sometimes there is continuity and sometimes there is change and we will anticipate whatever happens.”

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Ream said Berhalter and the current leadership group have ended a period of lack of unity between players at Major League Soccer and those at European clubs.

“When I first came into the program in my early years in MLS, there was definitely this feeling that the two didn’t quite belong together,” Ream said.


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