United States manager Gregg Berhalter confirmed on Wednesday that Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna will be called up to the senior team for the March international window.
Earlier in the day, Reyna was named to a 50-man provisional roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which spans beyond the March international window. But Berhalter, speaking at a reporters' roundtable during MLS Media Day, stated that Dortmund wouldn't allow Reyna to be released for the Olympic qualifying tournament, and that his performances warranted getting called up to the full team.
Reyna, the son of former U.S. international Claudio Reyna, last week became the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 days with an impressive performance that included an assist in BVB's 2-1 home victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
"We want our younger players performing and playing at a high level, and [Reyna] is doing that," said Berhalter. "And as a result of him doing that he gets an opportunity with the first team."
Reyna, 17, has made immense strides this season, even as the U.S. Under-17 team exited the group stage at the FIFA U17 World Cup last fall. Berhalter chalked that up to Reyna finding a rhythm within the Dortmund team. The previous season Reyna had to wait until he received his European passport before he could begin playing official games for the club at youth level.
"It was a very choppy year for him in terms of his development," said Berhalter. "And I think we saw some of that at the U17 [World Cup]. You could tell he didn't have rhythm.
This year Reyna has had more of an opportunity to settle in and rise through the ranks of the team.
"You can see [Reyna] has rhythm now and he has a good understanding of what the team wants to do. And they're using him in a way where you know they're not asking him to take full responsibility in terms of he doesn't have to carry a team. He's playing a role, and he's executing his role."
The result has been that Reyna's qualities have shown through.
"[Reyna's] position when he gets the ball in the pocket, his awareness to turn and his efficiency when he's turning his excellent," said Berhalter. "He doesn't waste any touches turning, he turns right away. The second thing is his ball security under pressure is phenomenal."
Now Berhalter must try to figure out Reyna's best position, although he concedes it's a nice dilemma to face.
"I can see [Reyna] playing as a winger. I can see him playing potentially as a No. 10 and a 4-3-3," said Berhalter. "He can play a number of different positions. I like him being able to affect the game on the offensive side, similar to Christian [Pulisic]. They've been using him on the left. He can also play on the right so I think he gives you flexibility."