US players welcome Gio Reyna after World Cup flap, Ream says
DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) — Gio Reyna has been welcomed back to the U.S. national team by Tim Ream, one of the group's senior players, after the family of the young midfielder sparked a feud with Gregg Berhalter that left the coach's future uncertain.
After Berhalter used Reyna sparingly at the World Cup, the player's parents, former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna and former women's player Danielle Egan Reyna, notified the U.S. Soccer Federation of a 1992 domestic violence involving Berhalter and the woman he later married — Danielle Egan's former college roommate.
The USSF commissioned a law firm to investigate and appointed Anthony Hudson interim coach after Berhalter's contract expired Dec. 31. The law firm said there was no legal impediment to retaining Berhalter, who remains a candidate, and the USSF put off a coaching decision until after a new sporting director is hired, probably this summer.
Gio Reyna is among 24 players in camp ahead of CONCACAF Nations League games at Grenada on Friday and against El Salvador on Monday in Orlando.
“The biggest thing is making sure that everybody knows we're here for a reason and what's happened with Gio in the past is in the past and what happened at the World Cup happened at the World Cup and we moved on from that as players," the 35-year-old Ream said Tuesday.
“I think the biggest thing for us as a leadership and all the guys in camp is to see that he's working hard, training hard, that he's wanting to be here and up to this point, it's been nothing but positive,” Ream said. "Having conversations with different guys, everybody knows what he can bring to the table, everybody know how talented he is. And to see him come in here with that attitude and the work rate and the desire to be a part of the group and just get back on level terms with everyone without having to overly address it has been a big positive for all the guys to see."
Reyna was not among the four players made available to media by the USSF in Zoom sessions on Monday and Tuesday. The USSF did not respond to an email asking whether Reyna will be made available this week.
Reyna made two substitute appearances during the World Cup totaling 52 minutes and Berhalter told a management conference he almost sent a player home because of lack of hustle — remarks Reyna admitted were aimed at him.
"I've had individual conversations with him. Those will stay between him and I because I think that's important, to have that kind of line of communication and trust between players, between teammates, between groups," Ream said. "What he's feeling, what he's seeing, what his worries may be will stay between him and I, because I think that's important to allow him to move past everything that's happened. And I think it's important for all of us to be able to move past that and work together as a good team."
Berhalter was hired in December 2018 after the U.S. failed to qualify for that year's World Cup. He said last week he is keeping his job options open.
“Bringing him back is a familiarity,” Ream said, citing “the togetherness that he brought to the team after it was very, very much kind of sporadic and fractured when he first came in.”
“He put and laid very good foundations for the team,” Ream said. “If they bring him back, obviously we'll continue to work under him and if they don't, we'll continue to work under somebody else. And that's just the nature of what we do as players. That's the nature of the sport. Sometimes there's continuity, and sometimes there's change, and we'll roll with whatever happens.”
Ream said Berhalter and the current leadership group had ended a period when there was a lack of unity between Major League Soccer players and those with European clubs.
“First coming into the program my first few years in MLS, there definitely was that kind of feeling of not quite the togetherness between the two,” Ream said.
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