U.S. national team center back Tim Ream said on his podcast, Indirect, that the controversy surrounding teammate Gio Reyna at the World Cup is a “non-story,” and that the situation was handled at the tournament by the team.
“I mean for us, it’s a non-story,” Ream said. “We dealt with it in camp, things moved on, we moved past it and that’s where we are. The players, there was no vote. So we can put that to bed. And like I said, we addressed it in camp and (Reyna) did what he had to do, and obviously came on against the Netherlands and played a pretty solid 45 minutes for us and helped to kind of drag us back into the game. So yeah for us, that’s it. That’s the end of it.”
Here’s what you need to know:
- Ream’s star U.S. teammate Christian Pulisic was a guest on the episode.
- Pulisic did not address the situation.
- Ream also shot down reports that the players voted on whether Reyna would stay in camp at the tournament.
At a leadership conference, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter spoke about the situation without naming the player under the off-record Chatham House Rule, but the full comments were published by the newsletter Charter. The newsletter later added an editor’s note that said the leadership forum erroneously greenlit their publishing of the comments.
The Athletic reported Sunday that Reyna apologized to the team for a lack of effort during training at the World Cup. Reyna confirmed in an Instagram post that he “let my emotions get the best of me and affect my training and behavior for a few days after learning about my limited role. I apologized to my teammates 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.”
Reyna also addressed Berhalter’s comments on the Instagram post, saying he was “disappointed” that the story was being covered and that he was “surprised that anyone on the U.S. men’s team staff would contribute to it.”
The podcast comments from Ream were the first from any member of the U.S. World Cup team about the Reyna situation.
What they’re saying
Pulisic and Ream both picked Argentina to win the World Cup on Sunday, backing Lionel Messi to secure his legacy against a very strong France team. They touched on the Ronaldo versus Messi debate and Pulisic spoke about how he sees Kylian Mbappe as the best player in the world, at the moment.
Pulisic and Ream spoke about the pressures of going through deadline day and rumors swirling about going to new clubs or new players coming in, managers they’ve played under — Pulisic praised his time under Frank Lampard — life in London, the season so far at their respective clubs and rule changes they’d like to see in soccer.
Pulisic on what he took away from his first World Cup experience and what it could mean for the USMNT going forward:
“I think my most significant takeaway would just be the experience that a lot of this team now has under their belt. Coming back here with my Chelsea teammates, for example, they’re all talking about like, ‘You guys actually have a good team. We didn’t know. You guys looked good, you guys looked good against England, you guys have a strong team.’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ I mean, I knew we had a strong team, and once everyone kind of came together, you could see that. And also now with the World Cup in the States next time around, I think these experiences are so important.
“People don’t understand, it’s just gaining that experience and having that bit of calmness next time around. And a lot of the core guys who will probably still be there (in 2026), is the best part about it. So I think that’s what I take away from it the most. Now that I feel like I have this experience, I feel even more comfortable out on the field. I’ve been in and played on the highest stage there is.”
Pulisic when asked where he sees himself playing in February:
“Right now, I’m absolutely back at Chelsea and focused and that’s where my mind is at. Ready to finish the season. But you know how things work in football, things change. Anything can happen. Things change quickly, for sure. We all know it. At the moment, I’m just pushing myself in training and working at Chelsea because that’s where I am right now.”
Ream on the best managers he’s played under:
“I think the best ones that I’ve had are really good at, and this goes along with what Christian was saying with Lampard, is that they’re really good at communicating with the players. The ones who, even if they didn’t play at that super high level, it’s the ones that will communicate with you good, bad or indifferent. Whether you’re not playing at the weekend or whether they’re asking about your family and how you’re doing off the pitch, or just having a random talk or random chat about life or football and everything in between. They’re the ones that are usually good at keeping the changing room happy. Because, listen, at the end of the day, players just want honesty. Whether they like it or not, at least they know where they stand. And so the managers who let you know where you stand, whether you’re in the team or out of the team, what their plans are, whether you’re in those plans or not in those plans, players may not be happy about it, but at least you know where you stand. And for me, those are the ones I’ve appreciated the most in my 14-year professional career.”
The full episode is available here.
(Photo: Yukihito Taguchi / USA Today)