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Reyna vows to be fit for US World Cup qualifiers

BERLIN (AP) – Gio Reyna is certain he’ll be fit again in time to help the United States (US) qualify for the World Cup.

The Americans have a final round of qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rico next month and Reyna said on Friday he was “pretty positive” he’ll be there.

“I don’t really have too many worries that I won’t be able to go to the national team,” Reyna said in an online call. “I haven’t been for a long time and it’s three really important games now so I’ll really give everything and, yeah, I’ll make sure I’m there.”

The World Cup is scheduled to start on November 21 in Qatar.

Reyna feared the worst last Sunday when his first start for Borussia Dortmund in six months ended just as the team was getting started in a 6-0 rout of Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Reyna left the field in tears, convinced he’d just suffered a recurrence of the right hamstring injury that kept him out for most of the season.

Gio Reyna. PHOTO: AP

“I’m happiest when I’m playing. So the thought that I was going to be maybe out for another extended period of time with the same injury was tough to take,” Reyna said. “I’m just happy it’s nothing serious. And, yeah, I should be back soon.”

The 19-year-old forward was given the all-clear on Monday, when Dortmund said he should be back to team training in two weeks.

A relieved Reyna spoke of his difficulties in a season that has not gone to plan since he got hurt playing in a World Cup qualifier for the US in September. He said the support of his teammates helped him through.

“All players’ favourite thing is just to play on Saturday or Sunday and the weekends. It was hard to watch them without me helping them for several months, it was hard to take in. I got really desperate,” Reyna said. “I was just trying to do everything I could. But in the end, they’re all great with me and it was really nice to be back.”

Reyna has made only five Bundesliga appearances this season. Last season, he played in 32 league games and helped Dortmund win the German Cup with three goals in five cup games.

Such is the club’s faith in the young forward that he was given Jadon Sancho’s number seven jersey when the English player joined Manchester United last summer. Dortmund has always made Reyna feel special – going back to when he joined the German club from New York City FC in 2019.

“When the offer came from Dortmund, how they approached me and how they went about it to recruit me, it was a great feeling. They made me feel at home and made me feel wanted. Christian Pulisic played a role in that. Everyone saw what he was doing here as a young player. And they’ve had other young players. But, yeah, it was an offer I couldn’t turn down from Dortmund.”

Reyna still sees Pulisic – who is playing for Chelsea – when they join the national team. Though his long injury layoff forced him to watch from afar, he remained in touch with teammates, coach Gregg Berhalter, and staff.

“We have such a tight team. We all get along really well together,” Reyna said. “In terms of Gregg, we’ve gotten in touch quite often. We have a connection that goes farther than just playing. We’re really close. And I’m really looking forward to hopefully being able to go into the next camp and be able to go to the World Cup.”


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