It’s the end of an era of Borussia Dortmund, with the United States Men’s National Team’s golden boy Christian Pulisic ending his four-year spell at the Westfalenstadion to move to Chelsea ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Dortmund aren’t short of wonderkids in their ranks, but this summer, eyes have turned away from Jadon Sancho and Sergio Gómez and instead are keeping tabs on their new American arrival Gio Reyna in pre-season.
The 16-year-old officially joined the club at the start of the month and he’s already making waves in Black and Yellow, but little is known about the young forward who could break into Lucien Favre’s first-team as early as next season.
So here’s a quick rundown of Reyna’s young career ahead of his first campaign in Europe with Borussia Dortmund.
Football’s in His Blood
Following in the footsteps of his father by moving from America to Germany, now 45-year-old Claudio Reyna found himself on the books at Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg during the years stages of his career in Europe.
Reyna, who captained the national team during the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, went on to move to Britain just before the turn of the century, enjoying spells at Rangers, Sunderland and most notably Manchester City before returning to the States in 2007.
He made a total of 262 appearances across all competitions in Europe, and Reyna has now spent the last six years working as the sporting director at New York City FC – where he’s signed the likes of David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.
Dortmund Under-19 Debut
Reyna’s no stranger to playing at a higher level for his age range, and the teen stole the show for an outstanding solo goal whilst making his Under-19 debut for Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
The 16-year-old starred alongside well-known Dortmund wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko against TSG Sprockhövel, and both players found the back of the net during Michael Skibbe’s side’s 4-0 win.
But it was Reyna’s strike which was doing the rounds on social media after the match, as the 16-year-old scored an outstanding solo effort after initially picking the ball up in his own half of the pitch.
He was involved in a smart give and go later in the move, before nutmegging an opposition defender and rounding the goalkeeper to poke the ball into the back of an empty net.
Some fans are quietly concerned that it’s nothing more than a marketing ploy which will get the hype train rolling, but new signing Reyna has joined Borussia Dortmund’s senior side for their pre-season tour in the United States.
New signings Mats Hummels, Nico Schulz, Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt will also be in action for the first time ahead of their DFL-Supercup match against Bayern Munich.
Dortmund will face Seattle Sounders and Liverpool during their tour of the States, before ending pre-season with matches against Udinese and St. Gallen.
He Was Actually Born in England
Reyna might be a United States youth international with a Portuguese passport, something which helped speed up his move to Dortmund, but he was actually born whilst his father was playing his club football in England.
Signed with Sunderland at the time, Claudio Reyna and his wife Danielle Egan Reyna – who met just before the 1994 World Cup – welcomed Gio into the world in the north-eastern city of Durham. One to keep an eye on, Gareth…
Close to USMNT Breakthrough
Despite being just 16, Gio Reyna has already been given the chance to train at Under-23 level with the United States.
His impressive performances at the New York City FC Academy have seen Reyna be tipped as one of America’s brightest young prospects, and he could well be fast-tracked into the senior national team if he continues to shine in Germany.
The ship has already sailed for Reyna to surpass Freddy Adu as the youngest ever USMNT debutant, but the foundations have been set for him to become a senior international over the next 18 months.
Comparisons With David Trezeguet
Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira compared Reyna to his former international teammate David Trezeguet during his time coaching the youngster in New York.
“Reyna is an SUV, blessed with rhythm and a good eye for killer passes. He is also dangerous on set pieces, particularly direct free kicks,” Vieira said, quoted by AS.
“He has a physical presence, and his gameplay is excellent. He can score goals, tactically understand the demands of the game. He is a brilliant child and shows some really good things.”
Battling Through Adversity
For all the challenges that are still to come for America’s new super talent, Reyna’s already come through one of the biggest tests anyone can go through.
In 2010, Reyna’s older brother Jack (11) was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma – a rare and aggressive condition which almost exclusively affects old men.
Jack was given the all-clear by doctors after months of treatment, but by the end of 2011 his condition had come back, with his parents being told that this time around treatment would only slow down his deterioration.
“That’s when we knew,” Claudio told Sports Illustrated. “There was nothing you could do.”
Jack Reyna sadly passed away on July 19, 2012, at the age of just 13.