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Giovanni Reyna has been groomed for greatness. He has incredible bloodlines with his father, Claudio, who is considered one of the greatest U.S. soccer players to ever step on the pitch. Now, the 17-year-old Reyna is making his own name playing in one of the best leagues in the world, the Bundesliga, with one of its best teams, Borussia Dortmund. Reyna’s path is a familiar one as American Christian Pulisic starred for the German club at 17 years old just a few years ago.

Claudio Reyna is one of the greatest players in U.S. soccer history

Claudio Reyna was a star early on named the only two-time Parade Magazine Player of the Year out of high school. In college, Reyna played at the University of Virginia for future U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena. In three seasons with the Cavaliers, Reyna won three national titles. In 1992 and 1993, Reyna was named Soccer America’s Player of the Year. 

After playing in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the 21-year-old Reyna signed with Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, a foreshadowing of his son’s future. Reyna struggled to get much playing time at Leverkusen and went on loan to Wolfsburg in 1997, where he established himself on the first team and became the first American to captain a European club.

After a move to Celtic in 1999, Reyna played for multiple English Premier League clubs for the next eight years before he returned stateside in 2007 to play for the New York Red Bulls. He announced his retirement from playing in 2008. 

Since his retirement, Reyna has stayed connected to the game and from 2013-2019 served as sporting director for New York City FC in the MLS. 

Giovanni Reyna’s early career

Giovanni Reyna joined his father at New York City FC in 2015 as a member of the club’s academy team. He has also played for various U.S. national teams starting in 2016.

In 11 appearances with the U.S. U15 team, the attacking midfielder scored seven goals. He only made two appearances for the U16 squad, but managed to score a goal. From 2018-19, Reyna captained the U17 team 18 times and scored an impressive eight times.

In July 2019, Reyna took a big next step in his career following in his father’s footsteps when he joined the Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund Academy. Ironically, it was just months after U.S. star Christian Pulisic had left the club to join Chelsea. 

Giovanni Reyna debuts with Borussia Dortmund

Since Giovanni Reyna’s arrival this past summer, it’s been a whirlwind experience. In February, he came on as a substitute in Dortmund’s DFB Cup match against Werder Bremen and scored just 12 minutes after entering the game becoming the youngest goalscorer in German Cup history. 

It was a spectacular goal where he outmaneuvered two Werder defenders, eluded a third, before curling his shot into the upper-right corner. 

A couple of weeks later Reyna made his UEFA Champions League debut. He was credited with an assist by setting up the game-winning goal and, in the process, became the youngest American to play and record an assist in a Champions League fixture. 

He’s made 15 appearances in Bundesliga action, has one assist, but has yet to score. Everyone, including Reyna, knows that will come in due time. As will his first appearance with the U.S. men’s national team, which is expected to happen sometime in 2020. And when it does, American fans will finally get a glimpse into the future of American soccer. And with Gio Reyna on the pitch, that future looks bright.


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