EX-SUNDERLAND midfielder Claudio Reyna is keen to get started after being named as the man to drive Manchester City’s expansion into the United States.
Reyna, the former USA and City captain, has been appointed as the director of football for the club’s Major League Soccer venture, New York City FC.
City, in partnership with baseball giants New York Yankees, this week bought the 20th MLS franchise, which will enter the American competition in 2015.
Reyna, who hails from the area, is effectively the organisation’s first employee and will be responsible for building a coaching staff and playing squad.
The 39-year-old said: “It is really a dream.
“There are so many soccer fans here and being able to be responsible for the building of a club, not just a team, with the support of Man City and the Yankees - I can’t wait to get started.
“Today is a great day but I can’t wait to get to work.
“Being so close to home and to be part of the professional game is fantastic. MLS has grown so much, even since I finished.
“Just to be a part of that growth and representing New York city is a privilege and an honour.”
Reyna is to stand down from his role as youth technical director with US Soccer to take up the position.
He said: “At the beginning of this year they made me aware they were in negotiations and were interested in doing this.
“I had a meal with them and an introduction to their organisation.
“It’s changed quite a bit since I was over there. They are really nice people and it was an easy sell to me.”
Reyna made 87 appearances for City between 2003 and 2007 after previous spells with Rangers and Sunderland. He finished his career in MLS with New York Red Bulls.
The new club will allow City to grow their brand in America, increase their revenue streams and possibly find new players.
Reyna said: “There’s going to be clear opportunities where we can work together and bring players across.”
Reyna was unexpectedly unveiled by City as they held a media event to formally announce the MLS venture at Lexington Academy - a school they have supported over the past three years - in Harlem.
City are to be the majority partner in the new MLS club with the Yankees bringing their considerable commercial clout and knowledge of New York.
The team will begin competition at a temporary home as they make plans to build their own stadium, with the borough of Queens to favoured location.
Reyna was surprisingly unveiled as New York City’s first employee at a press event to formally announce the club’s launch at the Lexington Academy in Manhattan.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano 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, 39, played for City for four of the 12 years he spent in Europe during his career, from 2003-07, making 87 appearances.
He also won 111 caps for the US and played at four World Cups, captaining the national side between 2002 and 2006.
Reyna is leaving a role as youth technical director with US Soccer to take up the position.
Reyna said: “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 tailor-made opportunity in soccer.
“I am incredibly excited to again wear City’s sky blue as part of the expansion of the MLS and the growth of soccer in the United States, and am honoured to have been offered this opportunity.
“With a large fanbase 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.”
City are to be the majority partner in the new club with the Yankees bringing their considerable commercial clout and knowledge of New York.
Reyna will now begin the process of building a squad in time for the 2015 season.
New York City will begin competition at a temporary home as they make plans to build their own stadium.