Why are people afraid of right wing players
Gio Reyna defines his goals: "I want to consistently be one of the 10 best players in the world"
- Reyna commented on his career as a footballer in his column for The Players' Tribune.
- He emphasizes that his goal is to be one of the top 10 football players in the world on a regular basis.
"In 2015 I started playing for New York City, where my father had been sporting director for two years. One of the players there was Nico Benalcazar, who became my best friend. I was one of the youngest players there and I was still aggressive - a a bit of an idiot, if you want to call it that - while Nico was a year older than me. So when we lived together at tournaments he kept me in check. Whenever I had arguments in training, he was always there for me like an older brother to me.
My game changed in New York City. For the first few months I was a right winger, fast but small. After the Christmas break this season we got a really good coach from Spain named José Manuel Lara who had worked in the Real Madrid academy. At that point I was 13 and already one of the best players on the team, but José Manuel showed me how I couldn't rely on my speed alone. He worked on my first touch of the ball, my combination game, my entire understanding of the game. He taught me the Spanish way. I can't thank him enough for that. Without him I definitely wouldn't be here.
At that time, I also had a growth spurt - I got bigger, stronger, and more confident. Then José Manuel changed our formation and put me from the right wing in a central role as number 10. In February we traveled to Madrid to play a tournament against some of the best youth teams in the world. And I just picked it up. All of a sudden I was that strong playmaker who wasn't afraid of anyone.
We lost the final on penalties to Atletico Madrid, but I became the tournament's top scorer and people said I would have been voted best player if we had won the final. I'd never been on a European stage before, and now I dribbled past kids older than me who played for big teams. I figured: If I hit these kids, I must be able to do something.
After that, many of the big clubs thought: Hmm, this boy can play. Of course, there was nothing they could do about the rules for signing young players, but they started chasing me. The only one who knew about it was my father because I didn't even have an advisor at the time. And dad didn't tell me. That was probably a good thing. If he had told me, I would have had no idea what it meant. I would have asked myself: "What should I do now? Should I go there? What is happening?"
Over the next few years I became one of the best players in the country my age. I played for the national team with players older than me. We went to all these international tournaments where the interest of big clubs kept coming up and where the same thoughts kept going through my head. If I'm better than these children from Brazil, I could really have something.
When I moved to Dortmund last July and played for the academy, it was the same when I raised my level and realized that I could take another leap. Hey, maybe I can play for the first team.
Last January I was invited to go to winter camp in Spain with the first team. I knew then that at some point I would be promoted. When I made my professional debut in the same month, I was a little nervous and felt uncomfortable.
The hardest thing about moving to Germany, however, was leaving my home. I am a family child. Even before I moved to Dortmund, I didn't go out with friends that often. I would much rather stay home than go out. So for the first 6 months it was very difficult to live alone.
I bought an apartment in February and then the pandemic broke out, creating a great deal of uncertainty about how things would go from here. Some said we couldn't play until September. In that state of mind, I was just lost. I often felt that I needed to bring some love and life into my apartment. There were lots of white walls, lots of unfinished rooms. I really just needed my family to bring all parts of my life together.
However, it was a phase I had to go through. My parents probably won't like to hear this, but I know I have to start taking the next step in my life, which means living alone and focusing a little more on myself instead of being their child - which of course I will always be. But you know, life moves pretty fast and you have to go with it. So over the past few months I've tried to take things into my own hands and educate myself a bit. I read up on history, politics, the Black Lives Matter movement and things like that. I just think it's important to know about the world, keep an open mind, and be ready for whatever comes next.
I've also developed a lot as a player. I've played some big games, I got out of my shell. I can claim the ball now. I think the time has come for me to become one of the most important players on the team. You see guys like Sancho and Haaland - I want to be on their level.
When I played for New York City it was said, who will change the game for us? And then they always tried to give me the ball. I want that to happen in Dortmund too. I know I can make the leap this season. I already have the feeling that I'm going to be part of the new generation of great players. I don't just want to be a good American player. I want to consistently be one of the ten best players in the world ".
- Here you can find the original article.
- The first part of Gios' column - about the death of his brother Jack - can be found here.
- We have translated the third part - about the duel against PSG in the Champions League - here.
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