Gio Reyna

United States’ Gio Reyna Almost Sent Home From World Cup for Lack of Hustle

American midfielder Gio Reyna almost was sent home from the World Cup because of a lack of hustle in training, for which he later apologized.

As reported by Sun Journal, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter revealed the team’s concerns about a player when he spoke last week at the HOW Institute for Society’s Summit on Moral Leadership in New York. Excerpts of his remarks were later published in a newsletter by Charter Works, which analyzes management and workplace trends.

“In this last World Cup, we had a player that was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field,” Berhalter was quoted as saying. “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. And 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.”

“But the other thing we said to him was, you’re going to have to apologize to the group, but it’s going to have to say why you’re apologizing. It’s going to have to go deeper than just ‘Guys, I’m sorry,’” Berhalter went on. “And I prepped the leadership group with this. I said, ‘OK, this guy’s going to apologize to you as a group, to the whole team.’ And what was fantastic in this whole thing is that after he apologized, they stood up one by one and said: ‘Listen, it hasn’t been good enough. You haven’t been meeting our expectations of a teammate 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.”

While Berhalter didn’t identify the player, several media outlets reported Sunday it was Reyna, and a person familiar with the matter confirmed the identity to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made..

“Just before the World Cup, coach Berhalter told me that my role at the tournament would be very limited. I was devasted,” Reyna said in a statement Monday. “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.

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