NEW YORK (AP) — Midfielder Gio Reyna remains sidelined with a calf injury, putting off a return to the U.S. national team under Gregg Berhalter when he resumes coaching next week ahead of exhibitions against Uzbekistan and Oman.
Berhalter has not spoken with the 20-year-old midfielder since the Reyna family’s feud with the coach escalated at last year’s World Cup. The fallout led to the U.S. Soccer Federation hiring interim bosses who led the team from January until July.
A son of former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, Gio was hurt in the CONCACAF Nations League final against Canada in June and hasn’t played a competitive match since. Berhalter hasn't spoken with Gio since the feud became public but said team staff had been in contact. His conversation with Gio will take place at an unspecified time.
“He’s been responding, and for us, it’s understanding the sensitivity around the issues, understanding the right time, in the right way.” Berhalter said during a conference call Wednesday. "It’s just being a little bit more thoughtful, a little bit more sensitive to the past. And I look forward to having conversations with him. I look forward to watching his progress and hopefully him getting back on the field and then for us, hopefully being able to include him in the October camp.”
Captain Tyler Adams, Walker Zimmerman, Josh Sargent, Zack Steffen, Sean Johnson, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Taylor Booth also are hurt and were not included in the 24-man roster announced Wednesday for exhibitions against Uzbekistan on Sept. 9 in St. Louis and Oman three days later in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Forward Ricardo Pepi returns after Berhalter surprisingly left him off the World Cup roster.
Four players were picked who could make debuts: defenders Kristoffer Lund and Kevin Paredes, midfielder Ben Cremaschi and No. 3 goalkeeper Drake Callender. Lund played for Denmark's youth national teams and has applied to FIFA for a change of affiliation.
Twelve players were on the World Cup roster and just three are from Major League Soccer.
Reyna was limited to 53 minutes by Berhalter at last year's World Cup. Berhalter revealed at a management forum in December he nearly sent a player home from Qatar because of a lack of hustle in training, a player that media identified as Reyna after Berhalter's remarks became public.
“I sent a note to each and every player and apologized for this getting out in the way that it did,” Berhalter said. “It was never about names. It was more about of an example of our strong team culture. And I felt that if it hurt one player, then it’s worth apologizing to the entire group, and that’s what I did.”
Berhalter's contract expired in December and he was replaced with an interim coach after Claudio Reyna and wife Danielle Egan Reyna, a former women's national team player, notified the USSF of a three-decade-old domestic violence allegation involving Berhalter and the woman who later became his wife.
Berhalter was rehired on June 16 after a law firm retained by the USSF said while Berhalter’s conduct “likely constituted the misdemeanor crime of assault on a female,” he did not improperly withhold information when he was hired. Berhalter admitted to the incident and called it “a shameful moment and one that I regret to this day.”
Gio Reyna returned to the national team for CONCACAF Nations League matches in March and June under interim coaches.
“We want to basically acknowledge that, OK, there’s been good work, but now we can take it to a different level and here’s how we’re going to take it to a different level,” Berhalter said. “And part of that is a player-ownership model, where they have more ownership in what’s happening.”
Berhalter announced three assistants: B.J. Callaghan, an assistant since 2019 and the interim head coach from late May through July; Mikey Varas, coach of the under-20 team the past two years; and Fabian Otte, a goalkeeper coach at Borussia Mönchengladbach. Berhalter is working to add Isaac Guerrero, director of Venezia's youth academy.
Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Miami), Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest, England), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest, England)
Defenders: Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo, Italy), Mark McKenzie (Genk, Belgium), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg, Germany), Tim Ream (Fulham, England), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace, England), Antonee Robinson (Fulham, England), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Germany)
Midfielders: Johnny Cardoso (Internacional, Brazil), Ben Cremaschi (Miami), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo. Spain), Weston McKennie (Juventus, Italy), Yunus Musah (AC Milan, Italy), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin, Germany), Folarin Balogun (Monaco, France, as of Wednesday), Cade Cowell (San Jose), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan, Italy), Tim Weah (Juventus, Italy).
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer