American wonderkid Gio Reyna is impressing all the right people at Borussia Dortmund. - © imago images / MIS
American wonderkid Gio Reyna is impressing all the right people at Borussia Dortmund. - © imago images / MIS
bundesliga

"Gio Reyna is one of the world's finest midfield talents in his age group" - Lars Ricken

American teenager Gio Reyna is one of the world's best midfielders in his age group, according to Borussia Dortmund youth coordinator Lars Ricken.

Reyna joined BVB's U19 side from the New York City FC youth academy at the start of July, but was named in the senior squad for the club's recently ended USA tour.

The 16-year-old came off the bench in the 3-1 win against Seattle Sounders, before starting and assisting a goal in the 3-2 victory over reigning European champions Liverpool. He has also travelled with the first team for their pre-season training camp in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland.

"Giovanni is one of the world's best midfield talents in his age group," said Ricken. "He has exceptional technique and is a real team player."

Watch: Skip to 00:18 secs for Reyna's assist for Paco Alcacer against Liverpool

Ricken, who was just 18 when he came off the bench to score in Dortmund's 1997 UEFA European Cup final win against Juventus, went on to explain BVB's holistic approach to signing players under the 18, such as Reyna.

"You don't just make signings to win the junior Bundesliga title," he said.

"The club has a responsibility to the player and his family when you take them out of their social environment at such a young age.

"We only consider bringing in youngsters from abroad when we're 100 per cent sure that the player has the potential to play for the first team."

Reyna fits into that category. According to reports, a whole host of European clubs attempted to lure the US youth international across the pond, but Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc says the club's renowned commitment to developing and giving young players a chance to shine on the big stage was decisive.

"Almost every club in Europe was in for him, but Giovanni had us in mind very early on," Zorc explained.

"Although he is still very young, the transfer came up because we needed someone in his position.

"Giovanni is a huge talent. We're very proud we were able to bring him to the club."

Reyna could become the fourth American to play for Dortmund in the Bundesliga after Joven Kirovski (1996-98), Joseph-Claude Gyau (2013-15) and, most recently, Christian Pulisic.

Pulisic moved to BVB as a 15-year-old, before going onto to make his senior debut at 17 and break all manner of records for club and country as a pro.

After five years with the Black-Yellows, the USA international joined Chelsea at the end of the 2018/19 season.

"The Bundesliga and Dortmund gave me an incredible platform to start my career," Pulisic said earlier in 2019. "I'll always be grateful for that."