Gio Reyna made the best possible decision for his career in joining Borussia Dortmund, accordng to one of the USMNT midfielder's former youth coaches.
Reyna made the switch to Dortmund from the New York City FC academy in summer 2019. Despite being initially assigned to the club's U19s, he was playing senior football in the Bundesliga by the new year and is now a fully fledged first-team regular for club and country.
Ex-Sion, Werder Bremen, Atletico Madrid and Hamburg midfielder Raphael Wicky, who coached Reyna whilst in charge of the US U17s, is not in the slightest bit surprised by his former protégé's development.
Watch: Gio Reyna racing up the career ladder
"Gio Reyna has star potential," Wicky, the current Chicago Fire head coach, told SPORT BILD. "Even as his coach with the U17s, I was blown away by his unbelievable game intelligence and technical abilities, combined with his superb physical conditioning.
"He struck gold with his transfer to Germany. Training at BVB, he's improved his game against the ball and defensive game. He fights for the good of the team and has internalised a winning mentality.
"If Gio continues to develop like this, he can go up another level and play for one of the best five teams in the world, including Bayern Munich."
Happily for fans of a Dortmund persuasion, Reyna is BVB through-and-through. Towards the end of 2020, the 18-year-old was handed a long-term deal, which will keep him at the club until summer 2026.
The Sunderland-born playmaker has repaid the Dortmund hierarchy's faith with a raft of ever-maturing performances, cementing his status as one of the most exciting young players in world football.
Watch: Reyna's learning curve
After helping Die Schwarzgelben lift the 2020/21 DFB Cup and finish third in the Bundesliga to secure another campaign of UEFA Champions League football, Reyna has helped his team win three of their first four competitive matches in the new campaign.
The eight-time US international has scored twice so far this term, his most recent effort falling in a 3-2 win over Hoffenheim, on his 50th Bundesliga appearance. Aged 18 years and 287 days, he usurped Kai Havertz as the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach a half-century of games.
In total, Reyna has made 69 competititive apperances for Dortmund, producing 10 goals and 11 assists.
The BVB No.7 is currently on 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying duty with the USMNT, a month after firing his homeland to CONCACAF Gold Cup glory. He is the second youngest player to represent the Stars and Stripes in World Cup qualifying, behind former Dortmund star and US teammate Christian Pulisic.