Austin FC have hired Rodolfo Borrell as their new sporting director, the club announced Friday.
Borrell joins the Texas club having just completed the historic "treble" (UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and FA Cup) while serving as assistant manager at Manchester City FC. The Barcelona, Spain, native first joined Manchester City as their global technical director in 2014 before becoming an assistant to legendary first-team manager Pep Guardiola in 2016.
Prior to working with City, Borrell served as academy technical director and second team head coach for Liverpool FC, who he joined in 2009. Before that, he was a youth coach in FC Barcelona's famed La Masia Academy from 1995 to 2009, where he played a key role in developing future global superstars such as Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas.
“I’m very excited to join Austin FC,” said Borrell in a release. “It’s an ambitious club in a vibrant city with fantastic fan support and great ownership. I look forward to working closely with the coaches, staff, and players to help this organization win trophies and establish itself as a consistently elite team in Major League Soccer.”
Borrell will begin his work for the club on July 1. In his new role, the 52-year-old will also be designated chief soccer officer and will oversee the entire sporting department, which currently features 45 full-time employees. Borrell and Austin FC President Andy Loughnane will jointly lead Austin FC’s overall operations, with Borrell managing soccer operations and Loughnane overseeing the business side of things.
“All of us at Austin FC wish Rodolfo and his family a warm welcome to our city and to our club,” said Austin founder, CEO, and majority owner Anthony Precourt. “He brings an incredibly impressive track record, a wealth of experience, and passion for the beautiful game, and we fully believe he is the right person to move our ambitions forward and develop the best players, coaches, and staff for the first team, second team, and academy.”
Borrell will take over duties from Austin's interim sporting director, Sean Rubio, who has been promoted to senior vice president, player personnel, a role that oversees roster management and compliance for all Austin FC teams.
Prior to Rubio's interim appointment, US men's national team legend Claudio Reyna served as the club's first sporting director from Nov. 2019 through Jan. 2023, when he transitioned into a technical advisor role amid U.S. Soccer’s investigation into an incident pertaining to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter and events relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Reyna oversaw the club's initial roster build in preparation for their inaugural season in 2021 and guided the club to a deep run in the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs presented by Audi, where they reached the Western Conference final before falling to eventual champions LAFC.
Borrell takes over in the midst of an up-and-down 2023 season for Austin, as the club have had to battle through injuries, particularly to their center backs, at the start of the year. That position remains an area of need with head coach Josh Wolff recently confirming that Aleksander Radovanović is set to the leave when his loan expires on June 30. On the field, the Verde & Black are riding an uptick in form, having beaten both their Texas rivals, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo FC, by 3-0 scorelines last week.