Claudio Reyna signed for City in 2003 from Sunderland and stayed with the club for four years before going back home to the USA in 2007. The midfielder could never be described as a speed merchant but he became a fan favourite during his time at City regardless. He also got to play along City legends such as Richard Dunne and Danny Tiatto, an opportunity that not many have been fortunate enough to have.
He is a bit of a national hero in the world of soccer in America. He won 111 caps for his country, many of which as the captain, and in the year 2000 was named Male Player of the Century by Soccer America. He played a key part in the American teams which qualified for the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well his appearances at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
These days, Reyna still works within the world of football, but in a very different capacity. His unique experience as both a Manchester City alumni and one of the best players America has ever produced made him perfect for the job of Director of Football at the MLS’s 20th club, New York City FC.
When supporting a Premier League club such as Manchester City, we take a lot of things for granted. Even in the club’s worst days we assumed that there would always be players, coaches, and kits. We knew that no matter how bad things got we had Maine Road, and then the Etihad, along with training facilities and ticket offices. Even in the middle of the Stuart Pearce goal drought there was no worry about where the fans were coming or where to meet people for a pint before the game.
None of this exists with NYCFC. Everything that comprises a football club will have to be invented and put in place by the men in charge. Claudio Reyna in particular will have a key role in creating a playing squad, a full complement of trainers and coaches, and all the rest of the staff that help make a football club a reality. His appointment, along with that of fellow American Jason Kreis as head coach, has done much to disarm fears that NYCFC would become a colonial outpost of Manchester and shown that instead it will be very much American in nature.
With just over a year before the start of NYCFC’s inaugural season in the MLS, Claudio Reyna has his work cut out big time. Luckily for him, he has one of the best and most proactive infrastructures in world football behind him.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter