Gregg Berhalter began his second stint as coach of the U.S. men’s soccer team Wednesday by calling up a 24-man roster for September friendlies with Uzbekistan and Oman. But it was a roster more notable for who was left off than for who was called in.
Not on the team is Borussia Dortmund playmaker Gio Reyna, who was at the center of a dispute last winter that briefly cost Berhalter his job as national team coach. Also missing from the young roster is midfielder Tyler Adams, captain of last fall’s World Cup team; defenders Walker Zimmerman and Cameron Carter-Vickers; goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Zack Steffen; and forward Josh Sargent.
“We have a long-term strategic approach, with two of the principles being strong rosters and maintaining continuity,” Berhalter said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have a number of core players in this group while also being able to introduce some new faces to the senior team.”
Twelve of the 24 players called up — among them forwards Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah, goalkeeper Matt Turner and defenders Tim Ream and Sergiño Dest — were on the World Cup team, while a dozen others have played in 11 or fewer games for the U.S. Among those is Danish American defender Kristoffer Lund, who played for Denmark in official competition at the youth international level but recently applied to FIFA for a one-time change of association to represent the U.S. at the senior level.
Adams has been out since March with a hamstring injury while Reyna only recently returned to training with his German club after recovering from a calf injury sustained in the Nations League final last June. Last fall, Reyna was nearly sent home from the World Cup after he pouted in reaction to Berhalter’s plan to use him off the bench in Qatar. Following the tournament, Reyna’s parents, angry over their son’s lack of playing time, informed U.S. Soccer of a three-decade-old domestic assault incident involving Berhalter and the woman who would become his wife, leading to a months-long investigation that threatened to derail the coach’s future with the team.
After Berhalter was cleared of any wrongdoing, he was rehired in June and will coach the U.S. through the 2026 World Cup, which will be played in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. At the time of his reappointment, Berhalter said he had work to do to repair his relationship with Reyna, 20, but in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, he said he has yet to speak with the player and has consulted mediation experts for advice on how to move forward.
The roster Berhalter called up averages less than 24 years of age and includes 16 players from the team that won the Nations League title in June. The players come off clubs in eight countries, with four playing domestically in MLS.
The U.S. will meet Uzbekistan on Sept. 9 in St. Louis then play Oman three days later at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn. The games are the first for the U.S. since it lost to Panama on penalty kicks in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. That game ended in a draw after 120 minutes, leaving the U.S. unbeaten in its last 11 games under interim coaches Anthony Hudson and B.J. Callaghan.
Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Inter Miami), Ethan Horvath (Nottingham Forest), Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest)
Defenders: Sergiño Dest (PSV Eindhoven), Kristoffer Lund (Palermo), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), Tim Ream (Fulham), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Midfielders: Johnny Cardoso (Internacional), Ben Cremaschi (Inter Miami), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musah (AC Milan), Malik Tillman (PSV Eindhoven)
Forwards: Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), Folarin Balogun (Arsenal), Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Ricardo Pepi (PSV Eindhoven), Christian Pulisic (AC Milan), Tim Weah (Juventus)