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USMNT Weekly Youth Update: Gio Reyna makes the matchday squad at Dortmund

The 17-year-old made the senior team bench for the first time.

SOCCER: JUL 17 Seattle Sounders v Borussia Dortmund Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another week is in the books with lots of action for young Americans around the globe. There were quite a few rough performances this week (Christian Pulisic struggled in a Chelsea loss on Saturday; Weston McKennie struggled at centerback in a Schalke 04 loss on Saturday; Sergiño Dest gave away a penalty and probably should have been sent off in an Ajax loss on Friday, etc.). However, there was a glimmer of hope as well. For any new readers, the rating at the end of each update reflects how much I think each player should be called up to the senior national team at the next opportunity (1-nowhere near ready; 10-absolutely call him up and start him). Here’s what’s going on this week:


Giovanni Reyna - Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund

There were several big stories from this past week involving young Americans (Tyler Adams returning to full team training and Josh Sargent being shut down for at least the remainder of the first half of the season also made headlines), but perhaps the biggest story from this past week was Gio Reyna making the matchday squad for Dortmund for the first time in his career. Reyna was on the bench to take on Fortuna Düsseldorf and fellow Americans Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales. The 17-year-old had to feel like a debut was in the cards as Dortmund steamrolled Düsseldorf, but he was left to wait another day for his first team debut. The win propelled Dortmund into third place in the Bundesliga. Still, it’s impressive that he is being considered already when you factor in his age and his limited time at the club. Many people expected him to potentially get a look following the winter break a la Christian Pulisic, but he seems to be ahead of that. Dortmund has a busy schedule in the next two weeks before the winter break, so he may be on the verge of a debut with the German giants. I wouldn’t expect it to come in the Champions League though, because Dortmund faces a must-win scenario when they face Slavia Praha on Tuesday. After that, they still have 3 Bundesliga matches in 15 days before Christmas. Reyna joins Richie Ledezma and Owen Otasowie as American teenagers that have made the bench this fall for clubs competing in European competition. It’s an awesome moment for the young man and he deserves a ton of credit for his hard work. Rating: 6

Nick Taitague - Attacking Midfielder, Schalke 04

Taitague is seeing a bit of a resurgence with Schalke. The 20-year-old is finally back healthy and has started each of the last two matches with Schalke’s U-23’s. On Saturday, Taitague started against Rot-Weiß Oberhausen on the right wing. He wasn’t able to help them come up with a victory as they fell 1-0. Still, it’s so encouraging to see him back on the field and playing after so many injury struggles. He still has a long way to go to get back into the first team discussion, but hopefully he can remain healthy and show his ability so he can do so. Taitague’s contract runs out in June, so he faces a fight against the clock to prove himself to the club. Rating: 2

Brady Scott - Goalkeeper, FC Köln

Brady Scott has spent this season with Köln’s B team which plays in the German Regionalliga (the fourth tier of German soccer). Scott was the starter at the beginning of the season, but he’s found himself supplanted in recent weeks by summer signing Julian Krahl. Scott started three of the five matches at the U-20 World Cup earlier this year and has been in camp for the U-23s in preparation for Olympic qualifying, so his opportunities with the US youth teams don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. But he needs to pick it up and earn his spot back at his club and eventually push his way into the first team conversation if he wants to get a look from the senior national team. Rating: 2


Kevin Bright - Central Midfielder, AC Milan

Kevin Bright is a 16-year-old Italian-American dual national. He’s been with AC Milan since 2011 and has worked his way up through the academy to his current spot with the U-17s. Bright has been a consistent starter for them, featuring in central midfield and on the wing at times. While not as well thought of as a few others in their academy, he is considered one of, if not the best, 2003-born players at the club. Bright is among a smattering of American youth players in Italian academies, but we’re still waiting on someone to break through in Serie A. Let’s hope he can continue to work his way up with the famous club. Rating: 1


Chris Durkin - Central Midfielder, DC United (On Loan at Sint Truidense VV)

Durkin is finally starting to break through in Belgium. It had been a rough start to his loan, but following his first league appearance last week, Durkin earned his first start in league play on Saturday. Caretaker manager Nicky Hayen opted to see what the 19-year-old could do against league-leading Club Brugge. Ultimately, Brugge walked away 2-1 winners after a hard-fought contest that saw Sint-Truiden go in front after 20 minutes. Brugge did what champions do and found a way to pull out a late win. The loss drops Sint-Truidense to 10th place in the 16-team Belgian Pro League. Regardless, it’s encouraging that Durkin is starting to find his footing. Hopefully he can remain in the coach’s plans going forward (and potentially the permanent manager’s plans whenever that comes to be). Rating: 4


Kevin Silva - Goalkeeper, Hearts of Midlothian FC

Silva is slowly pushing his way through the ranks in Scotland. The 21-year-old has returned from his loan to Toronto FC, where he spent the season playing for Toronto FC II in USL League One. On Sunday, Silva made the first team bench for the first time this season as he backed up Joel Castro Perreira. Silva still faces a tough battle to beat out the Portuguese youth national and earn his way onto the field. Let’s hope he can do so at some point this season. Hearts currently sit in 10th place in the 12-team Scottish Premiership, but they’re actually level on points with the other two bottom teams. Rating: 2

The coming week is a huge one for several young Americans. In the Champions League, Christian Pulisic and Chelsea take on Lille needing a victory to advance to the knockout stage. Similarly, Sergiño Dest and Ajax need to beat Valencia to advance. While it would be a surprise for him to feature, Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig need to get at least a point to advance. On top of that, there will be multiple games this week so it’s important to remain focused in training and be prepared to get the job done if called upon. As always, hit the comment section to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there’s anyone you’d like to hear about. Thank you for reading!