Count Tyler Adams among the crowd that thinks Gio Reyna is ready for a role with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Reyna was bursting onto the scene with Borussia Dortmund and his stock was rising tremendously prior to the world’s pause in play because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reyna’s performances made much of the discussion regarding him about what kind of role he could have with the USMNT, for which he was set to earn his first call-up this month.
Had the outbreak not forced the Americans to call off their Euro-based camp and friendlies, the 17-year-old Reyna would have been there learning the ropes under head coach Gregg Berhalter. As far as Adams is concerned, Reyna is ready for a prominent role with the USMNT, even though he’s still just 17.
“In my eyes, it’s not based off of age. It can’t be based off of age,” Adams told ESPNFC. “It’s based off of getting your best players into the pool as quickly as possible, getting them experience, and they are only going to be better by 2026. There’s not going to be something that comes out that says, ‘Oh, he played at 17 in the national team but that tarnished his development for 2026 World Cup.’
“It’s only going to make him better, it’s only going to give him more experiences playing at that kind of level. The kid is making it look seamless, receiving the ball in tight spaces against PSG. I’m sure he’s going to be able to receive a ball from one of our players against a top national team.”
USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter expressed his admiration for Reyna’s qualities after revealing he was going to call him in for the scheduled March friendlies, but he also told SBI that he would be patient with how he brought along the youngster.
A German Bundesliga player like Reyna, Adams has been impressed so far with the teenager’s ease with the ball. Reyna has made 11 appearances across all competitions to date with Borussia Dortmund, and has found ways to consistently influence games.
Having a player capable of making that type of impact is a major plus as far as Adams is concerned. The 21-year-old RB Leipzig midfielder thinks the USMNT can benefit that much more from integrating Reyna to a group that already includes talented youngsters like Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, and the sooner the better.
“Personally for me you have players like Christian and you have players like Weston, and you have players like Gio who just make everything look so easy,” said Adams. “Those are the players that you just enjoy playing with because you can give them the ball in tough spots and you know he’s going to deal with it. You know he’s going to make things happen, and there’s just a confidence to him, a calm confidence.
“He just goes about his business. He’s not bothered by anything. He’s getting touched, he’s getting fouled, he’s playing through things. Those are the players I like to play with for sure.”