Claudio Reyna named first Austin FC sporting director

Claudio Reyna -- close up -- NYCFC

MLS expansion team Austin FC announced on Thursday that they have appointed Claudio Reyna as sporting director, confirming reports that emerged on Wednesday.

Reyna joins Austin FC after performing the same role at New York City FC from 2013-19, serving as that club's first employee and building that club's roster from scratch to finishing the 2019 season as the first-place team in the Eastern Conference and qualifying for the Concacaf Champions League for the first time.

Reyna will report to Austin FC majority owner and CEO Anthony Precourt and will work alongside team president Andy Loughnane to build the new team for a 2021 debut in Major League Soccer.

"I am excited to proudly join the ongoing community engagement efforts that Austin FC has implemented well with the passionate followers of our sport in Austin, and there is a large part of me that is looking forward to working directly with Austin’s impressive Hispanic and Latino communities, particularly as my Latino heritage is an important part of my life story," said Reyna in a club statement.

“I am focused and committed to building a strong soccer operations group within Austin FC that will set high standards from day one so that all who wear the Austin FC crest upon their jersey will do so with integrity and make our supporters proud. Strong working relationships are a fundamental aspect of any successful organization and I look forward beginning the process of adding talented staff to the Austin FC soccer operations department," Reyna added.

The club noted that Reyna's experience in leading the process to build a training facility for NYCFC will come in handy as Austin FC work to build St. David's Performance Center, a $45 million training facility.

Reyna will also work with head coach Josh Wolff to build Austin FC's roster, and the duo know each other well, having played on the US national team together, including at the 2002 World Cup.

“Our club has instantly grown even stronger and I am excited to immediately begin the process of working closely with Claudio to build our culture of development and winning in Austin. I am very familiar with Claudio’s soccer pedigree and leadership skills, and his recent experiences will be of great value our overall club development and my own personal development,” said Wolff.

Prior to his stint at NYCFC, Reyna enjoyed a distinguished playing career, playing in Germany, England, Scotland and wrapping up his club career with the New York Red Bulls. He also made 112 appearances for the USMNT and served as captain for his country.