|Desc||As a young American making a name for himself at Borussia Dortmund, Giovanni Reyna is unsurprisingly being compared with Christian Pulisic. Interestingly, former BVB assistant coach Jorg Heinrich believes that the 17-year-old could be even more talented than the Chelsea winger, while Patrick Vieira sees elements of David Trezeguet’s game in the youngest-ever goalscorer in the DFB-Pokal.|
|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Borussia Dortmund|
2019 10 14 Retrieve
[U.S. national team legend Claudio Reyna’s upbringing was different to most in his home country] My dad immigrated from Argentina and he only knew how to teach me to play soccer in terms of sports growing up and having fun. He was the main reason I fell in love with soccer. I also went to Argentina quite often and all I had to do was hang out in our living room during a game on TV or go to a stadium to realise how much it meant.
I was 13 in 1986 when Argentina won their second World Cup and I remember my family, my dad, my uncles, crying, wrapped in Argentina flags. For me, it’s always been a sport that comes with passion and representing a club or a country and there’s really nothing like it. I grew up playing with my brother and my dad’s friends at the park from a young age. For me it was always fun. He was my coach growing up, our team was mostly made up of sons of immigrants from all over the world. At that time, soccer wasn’t a big sport at all, but for us it was everything
I have some memories of going to the [New York] Cosmos games back at the Giants stadium and watching it. When the league folded it was devastating because just when I thought soccer was going to be in my backyard, it was taken away. At that time, we were left with very little opportunity to watch soccer on TV. We didn’t have many games, especially in the U.S., to watch. I remember the FA Cup would come on one channel every year, and the first league we could follow in the United States was Serie A.
Every Sunday morning there would be a game and my dad would wake me up and that was it. The exposure players have today to watch games at any time all over the world is just an example of how times have changed and the growth of the sport. I couldn’t imagine, 20 years ago, [USA having] a league with stadiums and men’s and women’s national teams being followed by so many people. It’s a credit to so many people who have helped and continue to push when there were doubters of the sport
[Gio Reyna’s own experiences came at a different time to Haak’s, but they are similar in the lack of opportunities and spaces for soccer-crazed kids] As a soccer club in New York from day one we’ve been committed to the community. You can see that there will be kids that have played soccer for many years and there will be players who kick a ball for the first time, but it’s about the smiles and that inspiration that these fields will give to them and it’s about community. We’ve built each in specific communities where you’re going to see, no doubt, a big impact in how it brings people together. In urban areas this is vital because there’s not enough safe and public places for kids to run around and play so it’s important to give back. For someone in my position and role, there’s a feeling that we can be pleased with where we’re at, but we also need to push forward and improve many different things in the sport
2020 02 04 Retrieve
[American star Giovanni Reyna scored a stunning second-half strike to open his Borussia Dortmund account] I’ve always played in a care-free way, but in a good way. I just try to score goals and create for my team and be calm under pressure. I’ve always played a few years up, so that’s helped me developing here with the first team and getting more comfortable with it. I have to play my game and be confident in myself because I know I’m capable of being here. That’s why I’m here. I need to do my thing, be creative and play the way I know how to play. I’m still so young so I know it’s going to take time. I’ve got a lot of goals coming up this season and throughout my career. This season I want to help the team in any way I can, get minutes and hopefully score my first goals, first assists. And to try to win the Bundesliga this season
2020 03 05 Retrieve
[Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna says he only wants to play for the United States] It’s very clear to me: I just want to play for the U.S. national team. This is my home. Maybe it will be my debut. In any case, I am ready
2020 05 10 Retrieve
[Gio Reyna hails Pulisic as inspiration for American players] He didn’t just open the doors for me but for everyone [in the U.S.]. Because of him, young (U.S.) players have come to Europe to big clubs, looking to take the next steps in their career. He’s the one who has really made that possible. He made us believe we could do this
The most important thing I talked about with my father and my agent was my need to play. Dortmund was the perfect place for me because I knew they gave young players like Christian Pulisic and Ousmane Dembele time on the pitch and a chance to do it. I knew I maybe wasn’t going to be the biggest fish in the pond at Dortmund, compared (to) going to some other Bundesliga clubs. But I was confident enough in myself to know that if I worked hard and trained hard I could make it to the first team and become a regular. I’m on the right path of doing that just now
[The 17-year-old credits Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho for helping him make the leap from the youth squad to the senior team] The young guys like Erling and Jadon are really helpful. Jadon, obviously, because he came [to Dortmund from Manchester City] when he was my age, 16 or 17. He understands the work and the training that has to be put in by a young player to even make the squad, and then hopefully get some starts. He told me, ‘There will be some ups and downs, and even when you think you should be playing but don’t, you have to keep training and do all the things to show the coach that you’re ready.’ We also play similar positions. I can take bits and pieces from what he does and implement them in my game. And I’ll keep working, trying to emulate the same timeline that he’s on right now
I was with players like David Villa, (Andrea) Pirlo and (Frank) Lampard, I was used to it. And now, I would play with Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, (Mats) Hummels, players with similar careers. Legends. I was a bit uptight and wanted to do everything correctly at first. The biggest thing I had to work on was my defensive positioning. Tactically, there’s so much more structure here. In New York, I was playing as a No 10 and could go wherever I wanted, but here in Germany, I learned how to cut down the (passing) angles here, see the link-up there … the coach is very precise like that
With this team and this staff, it’s almost hard not to do well. They have made it so much easier for me to take my chance and help the team score goals and make assists. I will keep learning and hopefully improving
2020 05 10 Retrieve
[Dortmund ace Gio Reyna says Schalke derby will be intense with or without fans] I think I speak for the whole team when I say that we’re buzzing to get playing again. I’ve never seen a derby live or played in one so of course, I’ve been really looking forward to this game. They’re a great team but I think if we play the way we can play then we can win. It’s going to be a high-intensity game with or without fans
[Meanwhile, the USA Under-17 international, who hailed Christian Pulisic’s influence for paving the way to the German giants, explained he has learned much over his brief stint at the club thus far] I’ve learned a lot on and off the field. The club has taken great care of me and I’ve made some really good friends so far that have helped me a lot, and I’m really enjoying my time here.
The most important thing for me is to always enjoy playing and have fun because that’s how everybody started playing the game. Always since you were four, five years old, just loving the game. Of course, hard work is needed, but I think just having fun and playing with a smile on your face is the best way to do it.
2020 05 11 Retrieve
[Gio Reyna says that Jadon Sancho has made him feel like he belongs with Borussia Dortmund] I think the biggest thing for any young player is to be confident - I’m here because I belong. Those guys told me mistakes happen, even Messi and Ronaldo make mistakes. You make it, then put it behind you and move on. Jadon knows how I felt. He’s been there for me and I could always go to him with stuff if I needed help off the field. There have been some difficult times, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But all I need to do is keep my head looking forward, eyes on the future and hopefully I can do some more pretty cool stuff. I look up to him because he’s done so many things in a young career, and he’s a great guy. He’s encouraged me, as he sees something in me