US youngster Gio Reyna has appeared in all five of Borussia Dortmund’s fixtures since the turn of the year, even facing compatriot Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen, earning comparisons with his American predecessor at BVB, Christian Pulisic. - © imago images
US youngster Gio Reyna has appeared in all five of Borussia Dortmund’s fixtures since the turn of the year, even facing compatriot Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen, earning comparisons with his American predecessor at BVB, Christian Pulisic. - © imago images
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Borussia Dortmund's American teenager Gio Reyna: "Hopefully I can play with Pulisic in the national team soon"

Like his American predecessor Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna has not looked out of place since breaking into Borussia Dortmund’s first team after the winter break – scoring a spectacular maiden goal in the DFB Cup against Werder Bremen – and setting pulses racing on both sides of the Atlantic.

The 17-year-old attacking midfielder sat down exclusively with bundesliga.com to discuss how much he has developed, what his famous parents make of it all, and comparisons with compatriot and ex-Dortmund star Pulisic

On how he would describe himself as a player…

Giovanni Reyna: “I think I’m pretty creative on the ball – I can do a bit of everything. I think when I have the ball, I can pick out a pass, I can combine, I can dribble. I really want to win and I’m really competitive. I think that’s one of my best qualities. That’s what’s gotten me here I think to this day, with my work in practice and in games, to never lose and always want to be the best. I’m very competitive and I’ll do anything to help the team.”

On whether he has improved since the start of the season…

Reyna: “I think I’ve improved so much, just learning from all these players that I have to look at every day in training, like Marco [Reus] and Mario [Götze]. There are all these World Cup winners and stuff like that with Mats [Hummels] also. Off the field also, the way they take care of their bodies. I’m just taking things every day and learning things every day. My movement has got a lot better, and I’ve also come out of my shell and feel really ready to play now and help the team. Now that I’m there, I don’t have to be scared, and I can look fully forwards.”

On comparisons with USMNT international and Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic…

Reyna: “I’m in touch with Christian. We write on text or Instagram every now and then, but I just try to be my own person. Yes, what he did in Germany was amazing, and it’s cool to be compared to him as he’s doing so well now in the Premier League. But I’m trying to create my own path, because we are different players. The way he created a path for Americans to come to Germany, and especially now in Dortmund for me, is really exciting. So yeah, he’s done a lot of great stuff, and hopefully I can play with him soon in the national team.”

On what head coach Lucien Favre tells him…

Reyna: “He just tells me to tactically play freely and help the team, and he puts me in my best positions to help me do well. He knows where I can do well, so he puts me there. Every now and then, if I need anything, I can go to him and ask him for stuff, and he’ll just tell me to be relaxed, to have fun and to be comfortable with the guys. The whole staff have been really helpful.”

On what life is like in Germany…

Reyna: “I have some really good friends here who have helped me settle in and get used to life here. It’s way different, but they treat me like family here, so I’m really happy to be here.”

On whether he misses his family…

Reyna: “Yeah, of course. I wish I could see them more often, and also my friends. Sometimes I don’t see them for five months at a time, but I’m willing to sacrifice this to be a soccer player.”

Gio Reyna’s father Claudio played for Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg and is a former USMNT captain. - /

On what his parents, former professional football players Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan, have passed down…

Reyna: “I think my parents say I got the best of both of them, to be honest, because my dad was more of a technical, combining player, good on the ball, and with good technique, while my mum was more of a runner. I think I can run pretty well too, but I also have a good technique and a good combination. I think I got the best of both of them, but I can still always work and improve on both of them.”

On what his parents tell him…

Reyna: “They try to keep me grounded, obviously, because there is a lot coming at me right now. I know that though, and not only them, but a lot of other people tell me that. It’s still a long way to go, and I know there’s still a lot of work. They obviously say they’re proud of me and they love what I’m doing over here.”

On whether it's tough to stay grounded…

Reyna: “No, not really. I’ve always been pretty relaxed and pretty humble. At times, I have gotten ahead of myself, but I’ve learned from that and people put me in my place a few years back. Now I know there’s still so much left and so much work to be put in.”

Watch: Pulisic's journey from Pennsylvania to London via Dortmund

On what other sports he played as a child…

Reyna: “In the end, it was always going to be football, but I also played really competitive basketball in New York City until I was 12 or 13. After that, I had to stop, as this was obviously my priority, my main option, and my passion. I really love basketball though, and still follow it now. I try to watch as many games as I can, but with the time change it’s tough. Basketball, besides soccer, is my next love.”

On whether he looks back on and values his previous achievements…

Reyna: “Yeah, sometimes. I have a few hours off here after training – I don’t do a lot here after training. But yeah, I think about it every now and then. However, my main goal is to look forward, and what I’ve done in the past as a young player, being in the first team a little bit and on the boundary the pre-season before… all my goals are set ahead, so I want to make a bigger impact in the future and prove to myself that I have more.”