United States midfielder John Queen was nearly kicked out of the World Cup in Qatar due to a lack of effort in training and in a pre-tournament scrum against Qatari side Al Gharafa SC, sources tell ESPN .
Reyna, 20, didn’t start a single game for the United States in Qatar, but played the entire second half of their final match – a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the round of 16. The sources added that Reyna apologized to the whole squad for her lack of effort.
The revelation came after US manager Gregg Berhalter spoke at the HOW Institute for Society Moral Leadership Summit in New York on Tuesday. His comments were later published in a newsletter by Charterworksin which he said the United States “had a player who clearly fell short of expectations on and off the pitch. One of 26 players, so that stood out. As a staff, we stayed sitting together for hours deliberating what we were going to do with this player. We were ready to book a plane ticket home, it was so extreme.”
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Berhalter went on to say, “What happened is we’re going to have another conversation with him, and part of the conversation was about how we’re going to behave from now on. He doesn’t there won’t be any other infractions. But the other thing we told him is that you’re going to have to apologize to the group, but you’re going to have to say why you’re apologizing. We’re going to have to go more away than just ‘Guys, I’m sorry.’ And I prepared the leadership group with that. I said, ‘Okay, this guy is going to apologize to you as a group, to the whole team.'”
MLS Soccer.com was the first to identify the player as Reyna, with Athleticism reporting that Reyna was nearly sent home and her performance in training was the reason her playing time was affected.
Reached by text, Berhalter gave the following statement to ESPN: “It doesn’t really matter who it was. The important thing is that the group had very clear standards and that they were ready to communicate if the standards weren’t “were not being met. Sometimes that communication leads to positive change and a clear path forward.”
Berhalter later added that the presentation was meant to be confidential.
Reyna’s playing time – or lack thereof – has come under scrutiny throughout the tournament. He failed to get on the pitch against Wales, with Jordan Morris the last substitute used by Berhalter in the 1-1 draw. Afterwards, Berhalter said he felt Morris’ ‘speed and power’ could give the team something, and then referred to the ‘bit of a tightness’ Reyna suffered after the scrum. of Al Gharafa the previous Thursday.
Reyna had struggled on and off with injuries over the previous 14 months, including a hamstring injury, but he told the assembled media after the Wales game he was “100 per cent”.
“I feel really good. I feel good,” Reyna said. “I feel good. [Berhalter] doesn’t have to tell me why he didn’t put me on or why he does.”
It was shortly after that Reyna was confronted by coaches and teammates and finally apologized.
“What was fantastic about all of this was that after he apologized, they stood up one by one and said, ‘Look, that hasn’t been good enough, you haven’t met our expectations of a teammate and we want to see change,” Berhalter said during his speech. “They’ve really taken ownership of this process. And from that day on, there were no more problems with this player.”
The temperature around Reyna’s playing time rose ahead of the England game when former United States international Eric Wynalda said in a Twitter Spaces exchange with the Los Angeles Times that there were “internal conflicts”. He later said on his Sirius XM radio show that Berhalter lied to the media and also asked Reyna to lie.
Wynalda later backtracked on some of his comments.
Reyna played seven minutes in the 0-0 draw with England and was an unused substitute in the 1-0 win over Iran.