From the Borussia Dortmund youth academy all the way to the senior squad of the eight-time German champions. It was a big leap in a short space of time (six months) for Giovanni Reyna, who has already made German football history. The 17-year-old scored to reduce the deficit to 3-2 in the DFB Cup tie away to Bremen on 4 February 2020, making him the youngest scorer in the history of the competition at the age of 17 years, two months and 21 days.
The son of the former Bundesliga player Claudio Reyna, who made 74 appearances in the German top flight for Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, was born on 13 November 2002 while his father was playing for Sunderland in the English Premier League. Both Reyna senior and his mother Danielle Egan, a former USA international, seem to have passed on their sporting talent to their son, who is named after the former Netherlands international Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The Dutchman played alongside Reyna's father at Rangers.
Up to the eighth grade, "Gio" played basketball too – but his full focus was then on "soccer", as football is known in the United States. Reyna joined the New York City FC youth academy, where his father was working as the sporting director at the time, at the age of 12. The versatile youngster, who can play in a range of attacking positions, joined Borussia Dortmund four years later, in the summer of 2019, and moved into the youth performance centre.
Head coach Lucien Favre had been keeping close tabs on the promising youngster since the start and included him in the senior squad that went on the USA Tour in the summer of 2019. "He's very intelligent and can play in almost any position in any system." Reyna, who was first included among the substitutes for a Bundesliga match against Düsseldorf on 7 December 2019, has been part of the senior squad since the mid-season preparations for the second half of the season. He made his first appearance against Augsburg in a 5-3 away victory on 18 January 2020, before scoring his first goal 17 days later – and it was a corker too. "Disappointed with the result but happy to score my first professional goal," he said. It was certainly a successful start to his senior career. In the second half of the season, Reyna was brought on as a substitute in 13 of the Black & Yellows’ 17 games. He provided one assist in the Bundesliga and one in the Champions League (against PSG).