Behind The ScenesCOVID-19JournalismJournalism ShowcaseWho Does That?Working @ ESPN

Journalism Showcase: SC Featured Profiles International Teen Of History, Gio Reyna

Preview Sunday's SportsCenter feature of the son of American soccer royalty, a 17-year-old starring in Germany's prestigious Bundesliga

One of the most anticipated storylines among soccer fans in the United States during the upcoming German Bundesliga season will be the maturation of Borussia Dortmund’s 17-year-old American-born midfielder Giovanni “Gio” Reyna.

Two weeks from kickoff of Bundesliga’s 58th season, Reyna’s recent ascension to American soccer stardom and his family’s legacy in the sport will be the subject of ESPN’s award-winning SC Featured profile this Sunday during the 8 a.m. ET hour of SportsCenter.

Reported by Sam Borden, ESPN global correspondent and senior writer, and produced by Michael O’Connor , the SC Featured profile titled “The American Dream” traces Reyna’s path to Dortmund. It also will show how his on-the-field performance at New York City FC academy caught the attention of numerous scouts in international football.

Borden interviewed the Reynas, mother Danielle and dad Claudio, at their home in the suburbs of New York City, US Men’s National Team manager Gregg Berhalter, as well as Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc and youth coach Lars Ricken in Germany, for the story.

O’Connor talked about the story for Journalism Showcase.

Origin of “The American Dream” Story:
“With ESPN+ acquiring rights to the Bundesliga, Gio’s story seemed a perfect fit to spotlight as an American player to watch. His father, Claudio, captained the US Men’s National Team, and mom, Danielle, played for the US Women’s National Team. Gio is a rising star finding great success with Borussia Dortmund at the highest levels of club soccer. He followed a similar path as Christian Pulisic, finding early success at Dortmund, and US soccer fans eagerly await his debut with the national team.”

Impact of Covid-19:
“From the start, [reporter[ Sam and I developed a plan to embrace the pandemic as part of the story – here is a 17-year-old teenager living nearly 4,000 miles away from his family for five months during a pandemic. We tried to show how Gio and his family in New York experienced these challenging times.

“Normally, for a story like this, we would travel to Germany and film several elements – games, training, access with Gio. Since we couldn’t do this, we were fortunate to have great partners in the Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund to arrange interviews and supply footage of Gio in Germany when he returned in early August.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: A companion piece “Gio Reyna, son of Captain America, is U.S. soccer’s next superhero,” also written by Borden, is available on


The first season of Bundesliga on ESPN+ will kick off on Friday, Sept. 18, ushering in a new era of top-division German football matches, highlights, newsmaker interviews, feature stories, studio programming, themed shows and more, across ESPN+, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, ESPN App and “The American Dream” is an example of the storytelling expected to showcase U.S.-born players and other stars in the league.

– Mac Nwulu

– Andy Hall

Back to top button