Gio Reyna criticizes Gregg Berhalter in Instagram post
Gio Reyna, player of the United States men’s national team, today criticizes comments made by head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Reyna’s decision to speak publicly comes in response to a leak of Berhalter’s speech he delivered at a leadership conference last week. Berhalter selected a single player in his 26-man World Cup squad due to his lack of commitment and poor attitude.
It later turned out that the the target of Berhalter’s criticism was Reynathe gifted 20-year-old creative midfielder.
Berhalter’s criticism of Reyna
Berhalter attributed a lack of World Cup playing time to some of Reyna’s factors. Fitness was one, as was fitting into the system. However, the reason that made headlines was Reyna’s lack of dedication during practice and during an exhibition game.
In addition, Berhalter revealed that things got so bad that he had a discussion and voted among his coaching staff on whether to send Reyna home.
The player responded to that criticism on Monday. In some ways, he admitted his bad behavior and attributed it to his emotional nature as an athlete.
Gio Reyna answers Gregg Berhalter’s accusations
Reyna’s lengthy Instagram post read as follows
“I was hoping not to comment on things at the World Cup. It is my belief that things that happen as a team should remain private. That said, statements have been made that reflect 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 in the tournament would be very limited. I was devastated. I am someone who plays with pride and passion. Football is my life and I believe in my abilities. I was expecting and desperate to contribute to the game of a talented group. 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 better of me and influenced my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role. I apologized to my teammates and coach for this, and was told I was forgiven. Then I shook off my disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the field.”
Private to public
Reyna continued with his surprise that this came into the public eye.
“I am disappointed that there is continued coverage of this matter (as well as some highly fictionalized versions of events) and I am extremely surprised that any of the U.S. men’s team staff would contribute to it. Coach Berhalter has always said that issues that arise with the team stay “in house” so we can focus on team unity and progress. I love my team, I love representing my country and I now only focus on improving and growing as a footballer and as a person. I hope that in the future every person involved in US Soccer focuses only on what is in the best interest of the men’s national team so that we can achieve great success at the World Cup in 2026.”
Overall, this looks bad for the United States men’s national team. On behalf of Reyna, having a young player probably act like he’s just getting game time instead of earning it is bad. Of course, Reyna admitted his mistake and added that his emotions got the better of him.
For Berhalter, there are some major concerns regarding Reyna’s treatment. If the player knows that he will have a limited role in the World Cup, how can the coach expect the player to give it his all? That is assigning value to something before you understand how valuable it is. Furthermore, releasing private information that both the player and the team believed would happen stay private shows carelessness on the part of the coach. US Soccer even released a statement that Berhalter’s comments were unofficial. In addition, Berhalter broke the “locker room rule” by discussing what happens in the inner sanctum.
Reyna, a 20-year-old whose father played well for the national team, showed more restraint in this regard by taking the high road than Berhalter. With Gregg Berhalter’s contract extension talks underway, it should be interesting to see how this debacle affects his outlook. Reyna doesn’t seem to be planning to miss the 2026 World Cup when it comes to playing on home soil.
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