Gio Reyna: Best American Soccer Player

Gio Reyna is a soccer player you just have to have on the field if he’s healthy. He wants the ball. He can hold on to the ball under pressure. He’s silky when he has it on his foot. Rio is the best American soccer player.

With his hair bleached Rio was in fine form versus Mexico and Canada over the weekend in the Concacaf Nations League. He had two assists in the final before coming off early with a calf injury.

What the United States men’s soccer team has lacked on most past teams is a player who they can give the ball to when the game is intense and they have to regain control. Gio is that kind of player. He can not only create and set up teammates but he can take the air out of the game so to speak. Change the tempo, whether that’s slowing the game down or speeding things up when it’s on. Get control again. And I think he wants that role.

The above clip of Gio, holding on to the soccer ball and spinning away from pressure multiple times, is a skill that youth players should develop. And it’s crucial for soccer coaches to both encourage one touching passing and moments where holding the ball is valuable for your team.

Of course that video above of Gio dribbling and shielding the ball reminds you of his dribbling run versus Mexico from about a year ago. It is a shame that Gregg Berhalter didn’t feature Gio more in the 2022 World Cup. Whereas BJ Callaghan, interim coach, let Gio float in the middle of the field for the U.S. team.

Most former pros and soccer pundits see Rio’s potential. “I think Gio Reyna has the highest ceiling of any USMNT player.” Herculez Gomez of ESPN.

It’s this pass though. Perfectly weighted that shows Rio’s ability. Plus, Rio starts the whole play with what turns out to be a header give and go with Timothy Weah. Rio’s first touch is brilliantly out in front of him when he gets the ball back from Weah – the touch right into space to keep the attack moving.

And if Gio starts scoring more goals like this for club or country, watch out. I don’t think it’s wrong to say he could become one of the top soccer players in the world. And definitely the best American soccer player.