US bad boy Gio Reyna has slammed coach Gregg Berhalter and his team-mates – after it emerged he was ONE player vote away from being booted out of the World Cup squad.
The Dortmund 20-year-old’s lack of action in Qatar was a mystery during the tournament.
APGio Reyna played just 52 minutes for the USA at the World Cup[/caption]
Coach Gregg Berhalter had claimed that Reyna, whose father Claudio was a childhood pal and US team-mate, was suffering with a minor muscle problem.
Reyna publicly denied that he was injured and hinted that there were other underlying issues between him and the coach.
It has now emerged that Reyna’s team-mates were so angry at his behaviour and “alarming lack of effort” around the team camp in Doha that they held a VOTE to see if he should be sent home.
But Reyna hit back by explaining his attitude was a direct result of being told by Berhalter before the start of the tournament that he would have a marginal role – and suggested team-mates and the coach were giving misleading accounts.
Reyna went on Instagram to post: “I hoped not to comment on matters at the World Cup.
“It is my belief that things that happen in a team setting ought to remain private.
“That being said, statements have been made that reflect on my professionalism and character, so I feel the need to make a brief statement.”
He added: “Just before the World Cup, Coach Berhalter told me that my role at the tournament would be very limited.
“I was devastated. I am someone who plays with pride and passion. Soccer is my life, and I believe in my abilities.
“I fully expected and desperately wanted to contribute to the play of a talented group as we tried to make a statement at the World Cup.”
Reyna’s behaviour began to cause problems during a pre-tournament warm-up against Qatari club Al Gharafa, where he was accused of “walking around throughout the game”.
It saw him taken to one side by team-mates DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long who were said to have repeatedly asked him to show more effort.
Reyna’s reaction to not getting on in the 1-1 opening draw with Wales was to hurl his shin pads across the dressing room floor, widening the rift with the coach and his colleagues, although he eventually made cameo appearances against both England and Holland.
Berhalter, in what US team chiefs described as “off the record” comments made at a “leadership summit” in New York after his return from Qatar, said: “In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field.
“One of 26 players, so it stood out. As a staff, we sat together for hours deliberating what we were going to do with this player.
“We were ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was.
“What it came down to was, we’re going to have one more conversation with him, and part of the conversation was how we’re going to behave from here out. There aren’t going to be any more infractions.
It’s going to have to go deeper than just “Guys, I’m sorry
“But the other thing we said to him was, ‘you’re going to have to apologise to the group, but it’s going to have to say why you’re apologising. It’s going to have to go deeper than just “Guys, I’m sorry.”
“And I prepped the leadership group with this. I said, ‘Okay, this guy’s going to apologise to you as a group, to the whole team.
“And what was fantastic in this whole thing is that after he apologised, they stood up one by one and said, ‘Listen, it hasn’t been good enough, You haven’t been meeting our expectations of a team-mate and we want to see change.’
“They really took ownership of that process. And from that day on there were no issues with this player.”
Berhalter and his staff opted not to take part in the vote, leaving the final decision to the players, and Reyna was allowed to stay only after winning the ballot by the smallest margin of 13-12.
Now Reyna has conceded he did lose focus and that his behaviour was out of line – although he is furious at the briefing against him.
I apologised to my team-mates and coach for this, and I was told I was forgiven
The youngster added: “I am also a very emotional person, and I fully acknowledge that I let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behaviour for a few days after learning about my limited role.
“I apologised to my team-mates and coach for this, and I was told I was forgiven.
“Thereafter, I shook off my disappointment and gave everything I had on and off the field.
“I am disappointed that there is continuing coverage of this matter (as well as some highly fictionalised versions of events) and extremely surprised that anyone on the US men’s team staff would contribute to it.
“Coach Berhalter has always said that issues that arise with the team will stay “in house” so we can focus on team unity and progress.
“I love my team, I love representing my country, and I am focusing now only on improving and growing as a soccer player and a person.
“I hope that going forward each person involved in US Soccer focuses only on what is in the best interest of the men’s national team so we can enjoy great success at the World Cup in 2026.”
GettyGregg Berhalter lifted the lid on matters within the US dressing room[/caption]