Giovanni Reyna has a bright future ahead of him. After moving to Borussia Dortmund (BVB), the American found both success and injury as a teenager in Germany's Bundesliga. Newly 20 years old, Gio is realizing a dream by being named to the USMNT at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The World Cup may be new for the young attacking midfielder, but it's not the first time someone in his family has been in the spotlight. Reyna will attempt to link-up with Weston McKennie (Juventus), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) and other young standouts on the U.S. Men's National Team. To get a true sense of its history and place in American soccer royalty, we can look further into the Reyna family.
Gio Reyna's parents also have their own storied histories, making him the first U.S. player whose parents have played for their respective national soccer teams.
Claudio Reyna Helped Put American Soccer on the Map
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Currently the Sporting Director for Austin FC and formerly of New York City FC, Gio's father, Claudio, has done wonders for the sport stateside. Gio was born while Claudio played for Sunderland in England's Premier League. After suffering an ACL injury that ended his season, he moved on the following season to Manchester City.
While he was often faced with injuries, an issue we hope doesn't also plague his son, Claudio found himself a fan favorite wherever he went. He played in Germany for Bayer Leverkusen and Vfl Wolfsburg, Scotland for Rangers and England for Sunderland and City. He ultimately ended his career at New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.
Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Claudio still left a stamp on the Men's National Team. He was named to the squad for four consecutive World Cups, but didn't get to play at the '94 installment due to injury. However, he then went on to become the third American ever named to the All-Tournament team after their quarterfinal finish in 2002.
He captained the U.S. men's national team in the following two tournaments, and announced his retirement from international soccer the day after the 2006 World Cup ended. Many in the U.K. dubbed him Captain America -- for obvious reasons.
Danielle Eagan has National Team Credits Too
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Gio's mother Danielle attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She played for the Tar Heels alongside United States Women's National Team legend Mia Hamm. Danielle found her way into U.S. Soccer in 1993, playing six times for the USWNT and scoring one goal.
A true winger, Danielle could find pace on the flanks and spread the defense enough to create significant chances. In 1994, after the World Cup, she left her professional dreams behind and moved with Claudio to Europe.
But her speed and prowess didn't fall off there. Egan was an intelligent player and has helped pass that along to Gio.
The Sum of Two Stars
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Gio told bundesliga.com, "I think my parents say I got the best of both of them, to be honest. My dad was more of a technical, combining player, good on the ball, and with good technique, while my mum was more of a runner. I think I can run pretty well too, but I also have a good technique and a good combination. I think I got the best of both of them, but I can still always work and improve on both of them."
He's been able to find the back of the net for BVB, providing some clutch assists, and getting game time in the UEFA Champions League. Gregg Berhalter is going to need to make some tough choices in Qatar. Playing Gio Reyna should not be one of them.
After having some tightness leading up to the group stage, Gio was left out of the U.S. matchup with Wales. He'll be hoping to get back on the upswing and see some significant time against England and Iran.
Many haven't given the USA much of a chance in this World Cup. But it very well could be that their x-factor is a soccer player who was born with the game in his blood. While we sit back and hope for Gio to get some real time, we remember the ice cold blood coursing through his veins.
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