Among his other roles? Well, for one, he's the former boss of new teammate Danny Bedoya.
Before the midfielder from Queens signed a contract to join NYCFC from the Long Island Rough Riders this month, he coached for a year in Villa’s DV7 Soccer Academy.
“I was going to continue that. But look, I got this chance and now I’m playing with him,” Bedoya said. “He was my boss before and he’s now my teammate.”
Bedoya said he never actually called Villa “boss,” but he joked with his parents about playing with the guy who signed his checks.
Naturally, he's a bigger fan of the relationship they have now.
"He’s been very helpful,” Bedoya said. “He talks to me in the locker room, out here, points out stuff I can do better, what I can fix.”
Bedoya’s storybook journey through leagues and teams in New York to eventually join NYCFC is the realization of a dream the 24-year-old was starting to doubt would ever come true.
“It’s been really tough, going on a lot of trials, being rejected by teams and coaches, them showing that they like me, but there’s not a spot for me,” Bedoya said. “I’m very thankful to be here and ready to show myself even more.”
Playing for the Rough Riders, NYCFC’s affiliate in the PDL, Bedoya knew as soon as he learned of a scrimmage between his team and NYCFC that his chance was there.
This wasn’t going to be another run out. This, he told his older brother Santiago, was essentially his trial.
“I even told my brother, I need to show myself,” Bedoya said. “It could be maybe my last chance to show it here. I did think about going abroad and trying my luck, even if it was lower divisions.”
Bedoya impressed the NYCFC coaching staff enough to get an official trial and continued to impress to the point he was signed earlier this month.
“Danny has quality to help us, but he has to get the right rhythm because it’s not the same to play here in MLS and another league,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said. “But we have confidence in him because the most important thing for us is he has quality to play soccer. He has a special quality when he has the ball and to learn what happens on the pitch. It’s very important for us, but step by step.”
Bedoya moved to Queens from his native Colombia when he was eight, and went on to be a star at Francis Lewis High School before playing two seasons at nearby St. John’s University. He left school to pursue a professional career, one that has largely stalled to this point.
While he may be unlikely to see the field on Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls (7 pm ET | FS1 — Full TV & streaming info), it could be an emotional night for Bedoya as his connections to the red side of the rivalry are numerous.
The 24-year-old was a member of the Red Bulls' academy before leaving for St. John’s, where he played with Red Bulls central defender Tim Parker. After college Bedoya played for Red Bulls II in the inaugural season in USL, making 27 appearances and scoring four goals.
A chance to step on the field against former teammates and live a dream would “be an amazing chance," he said.
“It would mean a lot because I came from there, played in their academy, USL. I do wish them luck, but I’m on a different team now — New York City FC,” Bedoya said of the Red Bulls. “I know I have to prove it if I step on the field that I belong here.”