'Gio Reyna is the next big thing' - Former USMNT wonderkid Freddy Adu backs 'uber-talented' Dortmund star despite World Cup controversy
- Adu backs Reyna for success
- Says Dortmund star is the next big thing
- But took aim at American soccer's pay-for-play systems
WHAT HAPPENED? Reyna has had an up-and-down past few months, both for club and country. His World Cup experience wasn't what he'd hoped as the Borussia Dortmund star was used exclusively as a substitute, and it quickly got much, much worse after a controversial feud between his family and that of Gregg Berhalter broke out in the World Cup's aftermath. Since returning to Dortmund, Reyna has also been used as a substitute, scoring in his first three appearances. However, he hasn't featured in any of Dortmund's last four games leading up to Tuesday's Champions League clash with Chelsea.
Adu still believes brighter days are ahead for the 20-year-old midfielder, who he says has all the talent needed to shine at the top level.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "I still think that Gio Reyna is going to be the next big thing," Adu told NJ.bet. "He has the potential to be a world-class player. He’s got everything, that kid is uber-talented. I think he’s in the right place playing for Dortmund over in Germany, which is the right place to develop his game.
"I would like to see him move on when he has developed his game to a place where he is a regular starter and playing 90 minutes every week, and I think that will take his game to the next level. To me, he is the next best thing."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Adu, who earned 17 caps and scored two goals on the international level, went on to discuss the USMNT's future, which he says is dependent on eradicating the pay-for-play model. His own start in the game came through a scholarship and he said that as long as money remains a hurdle for the sport, American soccer will never go as high as it can.
"I think we are starting to get to a point where we are changing our youth policy across the country," he said. "A little bit of that still goes on right now where parents are having to pay for their kids to be involved in playing with a youth club team, and a lot of people don’t have the money to be able to do that. You get most of the best players not being able to play and develop, because their families cannot afford to pay for them to play."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Adu added: "This pay to play’ system that exists is hindering everything. Until that changes, U.S. soccer is going to keep on being where we are right now for a long time because we won’t get the best players playing, developing and having the same chance as everyone else to get to the next level. I strongly believe that."
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR REYNA? Dortmund are set to face Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday in a match that could feature two Americans with Christian Pulisic returning to the Chelsea squad. Both Reyna and Pulisic could also be involved when the U.S. features in the Nations League later this month.