“Twice broke Christian Pulisic’s record.”
1NEWS – Having become the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances, we have recorded key moments in Gio Reyna’s adult career before he was busy with international agendas with the USA football team (USMNT).
#18 January 2020: Bundesliga debut
It was 18 minutes from the end of a 5-3 win against Augsburg when Reyna came off the Dortmund bench to make his Bundesliga debut. He might have made an even bigger splash had Erling Haaland not done the same and scored a hat-trick in the second half to help Dortmund come from two goals down and take the points.
Aged just 17 years and 66 days at the time, the former New York City FC academy player became the youngest American to play in the Bundesliga. He beat the previous record of former Dortmund player, Christian Pulisic.
Although Haaland stole most of the limelight, then Dortmund coach Lucien Favre was impressed with Reyna’s contribution.
“In training you can see that he has something special,” said the Swiss coach.
“If you can’t see that, you’re blind. His movement is always spot on, he’s playing in the right way and he can do a lot at his age.”
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#18 February 2020: Champions League debut
There was another important substitute role for Reyna who was born in England a month later, precisely when he stepped onto the pitch 23 minutes into the end of the last 16 first leg. He became the third youngest player to appear in the knockout phase of this European competition.
He contributed when setting up Haaland for the winning goal. That made him the youngest American to play and register the first assist for the Dortmund senior team in a Champions League game. Once again by snatching Pulisic’s record.
“There are still a lot of emotions running through my head right now,” Reyna told bundesliga.com after the match. “Obviously it was amazing to make my Champions League debut against Paris. It was a dream come true for me. With all the players on the pitch, and to get an assist was even better, but the most important thing is that we got the win. I’m very happy about that. that.”
Reyna has made nine appearances in the Champions League, and became a first starter in Europe’s elite club football competition when he played the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 home draw against Lazio on matchday five of the 2020/2021 group stage.
#19 September 2020: Bundesliga’s first goal
Reyna’s first first-team goal came in the DFB Cup against Werder Bremen in February 2020. He became the club’s youngest goalscorer in the competition, but he will have to wait until the following season before opening his scoring streak in the Bundesliga.
Once again, Haaland scored twice, but Reyna got the all-important opener in the 3-0 win in the first matchday against Borussia Monchengladbach. It got his club off to a great start.
“Overall, it was a really good night to score and get the win. Now we just need to start and do a little bit better going forward, but that’s incredible,” Reyna said.
“I just need to say a few words. ‘He’s the American Dream’” added Haaland. “I don’t need to say more. Reyna is truly living the American dream.”
#12 November 2020: USMNT Debut
There’s no better way to celebrate your 18th birthday than playing for your country at the highest level. Just a day before his birthday, Reyna did just that in a goalless draw against Wales and became the 12th player to make his USMNT debut under the age of 18. He is also the third person in his family, after his father, Claudio and his mother, Danielle, to have worn the US shirt.
Born in England following his father’s playing career. With Argentinian and Portuguese blood thanks to his father, Gio could have played for any of those three countries, but they never made him an option.
“I’m an American. I grew up there. This is my culture. This is my home, my family. Then I’m American,” he said.
“Gio and Claudio both move around the pitch in a very fluid way, and I think that’s a huge comparison between the two. They’re both competitive,” said USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, who plays alongside Reyna.
“I know Claudio is very competitive, you can see Gio has that competitive spirit. In this game we watched from Dortmund, you could see how much he wanted to win the game. So, those are probably the two main similarities I see between them.”
#16 November 2020: USMNT’s first goal
Vienna will always be a special drama in Reyna’s heart. Not because of the delicious Sachertorte or the world-famous opera, but because it was the place where he scored his first US goal just four days after making his debut.
With just 18 minutes, in a friendly against Panama, Reyna fired a free kick to open the scoring in a 6-2 win and become the third-youngest goalscorer in USMNT history at 18 years and three days.
“When you have a player like that, there are many different ways to shape him. You see that he is very adaptable, and that’s what makes him so valuable to the team,” Berhalter told bundesliga.com.
In late 2020, it was no surprise to see Reyna named the US Young Male Player of the Year.
#13 May 2021: First title with BVB
This is a competition that has featured Reyna’s name in the history books, long before she won her first trophy with Dortmund.
At 17 years and 82 days, Reyna became the youngest DFB Cup goalscorer for Dortmund when he scored just 11 minutes after coming on in the last 16 against Werder Bremen. “Gio is very, very mature,” said former Dortmund youth coach, Otto Addo, at the time.
“He is mentally fit and can harness his full potential even under pressure.”
The pressure doesn’t come much bigger than the DFB Cup final, but after being involved in two goals in the semi-final win over Holstein Kiel. It was just right that Reyna would be on the pitch when BVB beat RB Leipzig to lift the title in Berlin.
# 6 June 2021: First trophy with USMNT
CONCACAF 2021 gives Reyna the chance to clinch her first major trophy with the USA. With the coronavirus pandemic having moved the four-team tournament from its original slot in April 2020, Reyna has had additional time to establish herself in the Berhalter squad, and such is her stature in the competition, the Dortmund youngster being in the starting XI to face Mexico in Denver.
Down 1-0 after just 62 seconds, Reyna got her third senior international goal and first of the tournament when she tapped a loose ball after Pulisic’s corner was headed home by former Schalke player Weston McKennie.
A goal from McKennie then forced extra time, and to seal the encounter, Pulisic scored a penalty in the 114th minute to make the US CONCACAF League champions for the first time.
Reyna joins McKennie, Pulisic and Wolfsburg centre-back John Brooks as USMNT representatives in the tournament’s Best XI.
“He brings a number of skills that he is very comfortable with on the ball,” said USMNT and RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams. “You can give him the ball in tight areas of the pitch. He maneuvered with it. He can beat players one on one. And lately, he’s been really showing off his qualities with lots of assists and adding some goals to his game as well.”
#27 August 2021: 50th Bundesliga appearance
Reyna not only set a Dortmund record in a 3-2 win over Hoffenheim on Matchday three of the 2020/2021 season, he also replaced former Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz from his place as the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances.
Reyna lifted the half-century mark at 18 years and 287 days into her game. He also placed a hypothetical seal on his status as a key player for Dortmund.
The USMNT player started it all in Dortmund’s first three games of the season under Marco Rose. He would carry a century in record time as well, with his new club coach also developing new aspects of his game that made him even more flexible.
“Defending has always been an area I need to improve and I now have a coach who pushes me a lot in this area, and he expects improvement from me,” Reyna told Kicker.
Being more flexible means Reyna is left with more options, even though he already looks like a Rose player and Dortmund can’t do without him.