#Reyna #addresses #reports #home
United States men’s national team midfielder Giovanni Reyna has responded to reports claiming that coach Gregg Berhalter nearly sent Reyna home from the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar.
“I hoped not to comment on matters at the World Cup,” Reyna captioned an Instagram post shared on Monday. “It is my belief that things that happen in a team setting ought to remain private. That being said, statements have been made that reflect on my professionalism and character, so I feel the need to make a brief statement.
“Just before the World Cup, Coach Berhalter told me that my role at the tournament would be very limited. I was devasted. I am someone who plays with pride and passion. Soccer is my life, and I believe in my abilities. I fully expected and desperately wanted to contribute to the play of a talented group as we tried to make a statement at the World Cup.
“I am also a very emotional person, and I fully acknowledge that I let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role. I apologized to my teammates and coach for this, and I was told I was forgiven. Thereafter, I shook off my disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the field.”
In articles shared on Sunday, The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal along with Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reported that Reyna was criticized for a lack of effort both during a pre-World Cup scrimmage against Qatari club Al Gharafa SC and in training leading up to the United States’ tournament opener against Wales that took place on Nov. 21. Carlisle added that Berhalter nearly sent Reyna home, and Kevin J. Delaney of Charter mentioned that Berhalter explained at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership in New York last Tuesday that the U.S. team “had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field” at the World Cup.
“We were ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was,” Berhalter reportedly said.
Berhalter never named the player, but Carlisle wrote that the Major League Soccer website first identified the individual as Reyna. A spokesperson for U.S. Soccer told The Athletic that Berhalter’s comments last week were supposed to be “explicitly off the record.”
“Berhalter’s comments were at a gathering held under the Chatham House Rule and were not meant to be public, but were erroneously greenlit for publication by someone representing the event organizer,” reads an editor’s note.
Reyna made zero starts during the World Cup, and The Athletic said the 20-year-old “threw his shin guards after not being subbed in” against Wales. He played the entire second half in the 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands on Dec. 3 that bounced the Americans from the tournament.
Berhalter was widely blasted for his tactics against the Dutch: