17-year-old United States’ soccer star Giovanni Reyna was named in the starting lineup for Borussia Dortmund’s Revierderby versus rivals Schalke 04 as the German Bundesliga returned on Saturday.
The teenager was due to make his first start in the competition, having previously made eight substitute appearances totalling 122 minutes this season.
Germany’s top flight was suspended in mid-March, just like Major League Soccer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They became the first major soccer league worldwide to restart when all 18 teams played over this past weekend, as well as the majority of the second-tier teams in the 2. Bundesliga.
However, Reyna’s full debut with Borussia Dortmund against their biggest rivals didn’t take place as the teenager pulled out after picking up an injury during the warm-ups. He was replaced by Thorgan Hazard, who went on to score in the game.
Giovanni Reyna was born in Sunderland, England, whilst his father, Claudio was playing in the English Premier League. He grew up in America after his father was appointed sporting director of New York City FC in 2013.
The teenager himself originally joined their youth academy in 2017 before transferring to Europe and Borussia Dortmund in 2019. He went on to make his senior debut for the 1997 UEFA Champions League winners in January 2020 as a substitute in a 5-3 win over FC Augsburg – the same game that Erling Haaland came off the bench to make his Dortmund debut, scoring a hat-trick.
Reyna is a playmaker in his central attacking midfield role having been compared to Kaka during his time in New York. He is quick and agile, makes well-time bursts into the penalty area and has a good long shot on him.
His current head coach, Lucien Favre, has been quoted as saying:
“In training you can see that he has something special. If you can’t see that, you’re blind.”
Borussia Dortmund lost fellow American Christian Pulisic to English Premier League side Chelsea last summer and will be hoping they can keep a hold of Reyna for several years before he moves onto one of Europe’s richest clubs.
Giovanni Reyna’s full Bundesliga debut could now take place on Saturday 23 May when Borussia Dortmund are away to VfL Wolfsburg in matchday 27 of the 2019-20 campaign. Favre’s side have eight matches to play between now and the end of June, which includes two midweek fixtures which could boost his chances of starting, provided he is fit again.
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