By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi-owned Man City announces the first key appointment for its new MLS football team
Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City has announced the first key appointment for its new Major Football League franchise in the United States.
New York City Football Club has named former US and City captain Claudio Reyna as the club’s director of football.
Reyna has effectively become NYCFC’s first employee and he will be responsible for building the soccer elements of the club’s organisation, including the recruitment of players, coaches and trainers, and other support staff, in preparation for the team’s inaugural MLS season in 2015.
New York City FC, the Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team was unveiled on Tuesday as part of a partnership with the New York Yankees. The club will become MLS’s 20th team.
City, owned by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, will be the majority partner. The ownership group will pay a $100m franchise fee.
Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City, said: “Finding the right person for this role and getting him in place from the start was a priority.
“The football culture of New York City FC will be built from this decision, and we believe Claudio is the man who uniquely understands what New York soccer should mean, and how it can benefit from the relationship with Manchester City FC.”
Reyna played for City between 2003 and 2007, making 87 appearances.
Winner of 111 caps for the USA, he returned to America to finish his career with the club who will now be his cross-city rivals – New York Red Bulls.
“Having had the privilege of playing both for my country here in the US and for Manchester City, I could not have hoped for a more tailored-made opportunity in soccer,” said Reyna.
“I am incredibly excited... and am honoured to have been offered this opportunity.
“With a large fan base through the New York area, prime television rights and distribution, sponsorship commitments, and the Yankees as a US partner, the New York City Football Club has everything in place to succeed.”
Reyna will work closely with Manchester City’s Brian Marwood, managing director of City Football Academy, Txiki Begiristain, director of Football, and World Cup Winner Patrick Vieira, head of Elite Development Squad, as the New York City FC organisation takes shape.
New York City has been without a top professional soccer team since the demise in the mid-1980s of the old Cosmos, which featured soccer greats like Brazil's Pele and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.