The USA’s 2022 World Cup starting central defender Tim Ream made his national team debut in November 2010, shortly before Gio Reyna’s 8th birthday.
Ream, at 35 the oldest member of the U.S. roster that averages about 24 years of age, addressed some keys surrounding the team ahead of its first official competition since Qatar.
The first question for Ream during Tuesday's virtual press conference was about Reyna’s return to the national team after nearly being sent home from Qatar and the release of the U.S. Soccer-commissioned Alston & Bird Report that detailed the behavior of his parents and investigated their accusations against Coach Gregg Berhalter.
“The biggest thing is making sure we’re here for a reason,” Ream said, “and what happened with Gio in past is in the past and what happened at the World Cup happened at the World Cup — and we’ve moved on from that as players.
“The biggest thing for us as a leadership, and for all the guys in camp, is to see that he’s working hard, training hard. That he’s wanting to be here.
“And up to this point, it’s been nothing but positive.”
The team, led by interim head coach Anthony Hudson, is training in Davenport, Florida, ahead of Friday’s Concacaf Nations League game at Grenada. It returns to Orlando to host El Salvador on Monday in hopes of qualifying for the final four June 15-18 in Las Vegas.
“Having had conversations with different guys, everybody knows what he [Reyna] can bring to the table and everybody knows how talented he is. To see him come with an attitude and the work rate and the desire to be a part of the group, and to get back on level terms with everyone without having to overly address it, has been a big positive for all the guys to see.”
Ream went pro via the MLS draft with the New York Red Bulls after playing four years at St. Louis University. He moved to England in 2012 at age 25 and has played in more than 400 competitive games for Bolton and his current club Fulham.
The 20-year-old Reyna left NYCFC’s youth program in 2019 and joined Borussia Dortmund at age 16.
“I have had individual conversations with him,” Ream said. “Those will stay between him and I because I think it’s important to have that kind of line of communication and trust between players, between teammates, between groups.
“What he’s feeling, what he’s seeing, what his worries may be, will stay between him and I because it’s important for him to move past everything that’s happened. And I think it’s important for all of us to move past that and work together as a good team.”
Berhalter’s contract expired at the end of 2022. With the Alston & Bird LLP investigation clearing Berhalter of any violations, U.S. Soccer has indicated Berhalter will remain a candidate to return as head coach. The hiring process will be driven by the sporting director U.S. Soccer plans on hiring by July.
Ream was asked if he would like to see U.S. Soccer re-hire Berhalter.
“I just think for us players, bringing him back is a familiarity, it's the togetherness that he brought to the team after it was very much kind of sporadic and fractured when he first came in," Ream said. "And it was a big transition with a lot of new guys coming into the program. I think he did a fantastic job in that aspect and he laid a very good foundation for the team
“Whether he comes back or not — for us as players. it's not something that we really worry about or are concerned about, because it's not our job to hire for that position.
“If they bring him back, obviously we'll continue to work under him. If they don't, we'll continue to work under somebody else, and that's the nature of what we do as players. That's the nature of the sport. Sometimes there's continuity, and sometimes there's change, and we'll roll with whatever happens.”
Last week, Christian Pulisic in an interview at his home in London with ESPN's Graham Hunter referred to the Berhalter-Reyna affair as “childish” and seemed to back the re-hiring of Berhalter.
“I think everybody is entitled to their opinion, so I don't see any issue with him doing what he did,” Ream said when asked about Pulisic's candor. “It's not a bad thing. I don't think it hurt the group in any type of way. But that is the side of Christian that we are kind of used to seeing when we when we come into camps.
“He is passionate, he does have opinions, he does have things that he's very happy to speak about. There’s nothing wrong with anyone sharing their opinions, at the right moment, on a lot of things. [That side of Pulisic] was probably a surprise for all of you, but that's the same Christian that we know and see every time we're in camp together.”
Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson, who missed the World Cup because of an Achilles’ injury, is the only MLS-based player in the current camp. The squad for the April friendly vs. Mexico is expected to feature an MLS-heavy roster. Nine players on the USA’s 26-man 2022 World Cup squad were MLS-based.
Ream was asked about dissension between European-based and MLS-players within the U.S. national team.
“I think that's probably a fair representation of what's happened in the past,” he said, “not necessarily with this group.
“This is my fourth cycle. Being in part of the program for 12 years, and first coming into the program while in MLS for the first two years, there definitely was that kind of feeling of not quite the togetherness between the two [groups].
“And that's where I go back to this previous cycle, where togetherness has just been incredible. It's been the closest that the guys have been, whether it be coming in from MLS, South America, Mexico or Europe.
"It's been a great team unity, and I think that's something that hasn't always been there, but now I think it’s a mainstay.
“I think that it's up to the leadership group to continue that kind of culture and that feel of complete togetherness. Because at the end of the day, we're all playing for the same thing. We're all pulling in the same direction. And that's the most important thing.”
Photos: John Dorton/ISI Photos
And some people still wonder why he gets invited to camp.
Tim Ream is like a fine wine--'nuff said'.
Excellent! This man has a future as a high level coach. Precisely why he should be in camp!
i only wish that he was ten years younger. However, good for him at 35 continuing to play at such a high level.
There they are--all the Ream fanbois coming out of the woodwork! At his best Ream is/was an adequate technician. But are we going to see him at the next tournament because "leadership"? It's not like he was ever a Rafa Marquez-level back. I'd rather see starts for the next generation of CBs, to build towards 2026.
I'm with you R2 and Alan.... Give him a Send Off game in Orlando as
Captain and Then make him THE Coach or an Assistant Coach.!!!
Yay for the team and can't-we-all-just-get-along ... what about winning? I don't see any mention of the need for changes - somewhere, somehow - to avoid the definition of insanity: keep doing what we've been doing but expecting better results. Won't happen. It's time for change ,in some form or another, at the coaching as well as player levels.