Gio Reyna played against Joe Scally when they were 11-years-old. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Some seven years ago, the Sachem Destroyers hosted a team from upstate New York in a Boys Under-12 game some seven years ago.
It was a 7 v 7 encounter played on a smaller field.
Both teams were very good sides. Sachem won the LI Cup in its age division in the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
Joe Scally was the Sachem standout.
He had a worthy counterpart on the other team.
“[They were] a good team and going back and forth,” said former Sachem High School boys soccer coach Frank Schmidt, who was the Destroyers team trainer at the time. “There was just this one kid who was sliding through people all over the field, just doing beautiful things.
“Joe always stood out to me. He was at another level than other kids. And then this other kid. Who is this kid? Halfway through the game I walked towards the other coach and I asked, ‘Who is this kid?’ I can’t remember his number. I want to say 13. ‘Who is this 13?’ He’s a young coach and he smiles and goes, ‘That’s Claudio Reyna’s son, Gio. So, the two of them are the same field, age 11 or 12, and one against each other.”
Reyna, the current Austin FC sporting director, was the captain of the U.S. mmen’s national team during his playing heyday.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw, said Schmidt, who added that Reyna tallied twice.
“I can’t remember if Joe scored,” Schmidt added. “He probably did because he scored a lot of goals for us.”
Schmidt remembered that one of the fathers of one of Scally’s best friends “who’s got a great sense of humor” came over to the Destroyer player.
“He says, ‘Joe, you know, until today, I used to think you were the best player I’ve seen at age 12,” Schmidt said with a laugh. “That kid, No. 13, he’s better than you, Joe.’ The look on Joe’s face, was like, he didn’t know how quite how to take it.”
Scally and Reyna wound up playing together again at the New York City FC Academy. They also represented the U.S. at the Under-15 and U-17 levels.
They might meet up again, and sooner than you think.
Reyna has become a regular for Bundesliga power Borussia Dortmund.
Scally joined Borussia Monchengladbach this week and is training with the club.
Monchengladbach is scheduled to host Dortmund Friday, Jan. 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
It certainly would be an intriguing matchup if both players competed in that encounter. But first, Joe Scally needs to prove himself with his new team.
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