Gio Reyna was at the center of the one of the biggest controversies in USMNT history. (USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Realizing how important Gio Reyna was to the U.S. men’s national team, U.S. interim head coach Anthony Hudson visited the 20-year-old forward in Germany before calling him into the squad for this month’s Concacaf Nations League matches.

Reyna was smack in the middle of arguably the most embarrassing controversies in U.S. Soccer history, when his parents, former U.S. internationals Claudio and Danielle Reyna, complained about his lack of use during December’s World Cup in Qatar. They then shared details of a 30-year-old incident that involved head coach Gregg Berhalter and current wife Rosalind with U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart. The organization started an independent investigation Berhalter.

That messy scenario made many observers wonder if and when the younger Reyna could return to the team.

Hudson made sure of that on Wednesday, naming him to the 24-man roster, after meeting with the player during a European scouting trip in mid-February and attending the Borussia Dortmund-Chelsea UEFA Champions League match on Feb. 15. Stewart since has left the job for a position in the Netherlands.

“I think it was important for whoever is in this role, whether it’s me or someone else, the important thing now is to go and address the situation in Germany,” Hudson said during a media conference call. “It would be negligent of anyone who is in this role not to go and do that because he’s an important player and we need to find a solution. He is a talented, important player, a young player and it needed to be addressed.

“The way I look at it is, in [World Cup] camp, this happened. Us as a staff made a decision to take action and there was a response from the player — a positive response.

“I’m not condoning anything that’s happened, but it was more on a human level to go and see how he was, as a young kid who has been through a lot…”

Reyna, who grew up in Westchester County, scored in his first three games for Dortmund following the World Cup, all as a substitute. He has competed in seven games, six off the bench.

“For anyone to go through that is going to be a challenge,” Hudson said. “Speaking to him this week, there was no hesitation from him about coming in. He’s determined to come in and do well.”

Hudson, who has taken over the coaching reins after Berhalter’s contract ran out on Dec. 31, said he was not contacted by Reyna’s parents during the World Cup. He added that he was worried about how people view either his non-use of Reyna, saying: “It’s just not come into my thinking at all.”

“We spoke a little bit about his situation at the club, we spoke about what this next period looks like, and that was it.

“We didn’t want to put him under any pressure and just wanted to go and meet with him, see how he was doing and that was it.

“The meeting went well. The other stuff is separate from the kid, from the player.”

The USA has two matches remaining in Group D. Currently in second place with four points and one behind El Salvador, the Americnas play at Grenada on March 24 at Kirani James Athletic Stadium in Saint George’s (8 p.m. ET; TNT, Universo, Peacock).

Three days later, the USMNT faces El Salvador at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. That contest will be broadcast on TNT and Universo and streamed on Peacock. Coverage begins at 7 p.m., with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the USMNT on Twitter (@USMNT), Instagram (@USMNT), Facebook and the official U.S. Soccer App.