Giovanni Reyna: The American Prodigy looking to follow in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund

After being signed from New York City FC’s academy last summer, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna is on course to become the next young star in the Bundesliga. Currently, at Dortmund, Norewigan sensation Erling Haaland and England star Jadon Sancho are wanted by Europe’s elite. However, with a number of excellent performances for Lucien Favre’s side this season, Reyna will not be far behind. At just 17 years old, the talented youngster is on course to be the next wonder-kid to take the football world by storm.

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Born in 2002, the likelihood that Reyna would become a footballer was high. His father is the former Rangers, Sunderland and USA midfielder Claudio Reyna, while his mother is Danielle Egan Reyna, a former USA international.

A supremely gifted sportsman from an early age, Gio joined the NYCFC youth academy and his talent soon shone through. In April 2017, at just 14, he helped his team to win the Generation Adidas Cup a competition for U17s. Reyna impressed so much that he was named Player of the Tournament. He then played a starring role as the US U15s won the prestigious Torneo delle Nazioni youth tournament, racking up four goals and four assists – including the winner in the final against England.

After a strong 2017/18 campaign with the NYCFC U18/19s – in which he scored 13 goals in 17 appearances – Reyna arrived in Dortmund at the start of 2019. Like former teammate Christian Pulisic, he was able to join the Black-and-Yellows at the age of just 16, having secured a Portuguese passport through Claudio’s mother Maria. Beginning in the Dortmund youth side, he was quickly promoted to the senior side during the winter break and made his Bundesliga debut in January this year, coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute for Thorgan Hazard against FC Ausburg.

The following month, Reyna then opened his BVB account, scoring a sensational goal in Dortmund’s 3-2 DFB Cup defeat to Bremen in February 2020 and in doing so, he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the competition. In the same month, Reyna came on as a substitute in the last 16 game of the Champions League against Paris St Germain nine minutes after coming on, Reyna set up the winner for Haaland to secure a 2-1 win.

What they’re saying

“He’s much more of an athlete than I was, much more of a goal scorer. He’s very technical and has a good feel for the game. He has a great free kick and can strike a ball well. Danielle was a great runner – and he’s a runner.” – Former USMNT captain Claudio Reyna, Gio’s father

“For a kid, he has this physical presence and his game understanding is really good. He can score goals, he understands the demands of the game tactically. He’s a really smart kid and he’s shown some really good stuff.” – Patrick Vieira, Reyna’s former youth coach at NYCFC 

“In training you can see that he has something special. If you can’t see that, you’re blind.” – Dortmund coach Lucien Favre

Since making his debut in January, Reyna has gone on to make 11 appearances. The 17-year-old has become a fixture in the Dortmund first-team squad and is destined to have a big future at the club and in football. In Gio Reyna, Dortmund have unearthed another one of Europe’s top young talents who has the world at his feet.

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