Claudio Reyna: “This has been an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. ” (Noah K. Murray – USA TODAY)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

As expected, Claudio Reyna is headed to Texas.

Calling it a difficult decision for himself and his family, Reyna stepped down as New York City FC sporting director Thursday morning to take on the same position with the Major League Soccer expansion team Austin FC.

David Lee, who has been the City technical director, was promoted to take Reyna’s place.

On Wednesday, the 46-year-old Reyna was reportedly headed for Austin FC.

“After five seasons as the sporting director for New York City FC, I’ve decided to accept the exciting opportunity to once again be part of an expansion club,” Reyna said in a statement. “This has been an extremely difficult decision for me and my family. NYCFC is such a special place and being sporting director of this great club has been one of the most enjoyable and proud moments in my career.”

When NYCFC was introduced in 2013, Reyna, a former captain of the U.S. men’s national team, was the first big signing by the then expansion club.

“We’ve accomplished incredible things as a club both on and off the field. Not only have we created an exceptionally talented first team that has improved every season, we’ve developed our Academy into one of the most talented and competitive in the country,” Reyna said.

“I’d like to thank everyone here at NYCFC; our players, Sporting Department, support staff and the front office. It’s been a tremendous honor and I cherish the memories and friends I’ve made over the last six years.”

Claudio Reyna Departs #NYCFC to Join Austin FC; Technical Director David Lee Promoted to Sporting Director.Thank you and good luck, Claudio 💙READ ➡️ https://bit.ly/35k6zDJ

Posted by New York City FC on Thursday, November 21, 2019

Video courtesy of NYCFC’s Facebook page

Reyna’s departure capped a tumultuous two weeks for the team.

On Nov. 8, head coach Dome Torrent left City in a mutual parting of the ways. Torrent was frustrated by MLS’ complicated signing procedures and the City Football Group’s lack of speed in acquiring key players during the 2019 season.

And now Reyna.

He will be succeeded by Lee, considered one of the best talent evaluators in the league.

“I couldn’t be happier for David Lee to take over the position of sporting director,” Reyna said. “David and I have worked hand in hand over the last six years and he is without doubt one of the most talented and well-respected executives in the league. Under David’s leadership, and with this continuity, I know the Sporting Department and team will continue to go from strength to strength.

“Finally, thank you to the fans. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you and you always support the team with such passion. The future of New York City FC is extraordinarily bright. I’ll always be a fan and I know the club will continue to grow and make a huge impact in NYC.”

Reyna will report directly to Austin FC and Two Oak Ventures majority owner and CEO Anthony Precourt.

“Claudio Reyna’s appointment as sporting director of Austin FC is a historic moment in the brief existence of our club,” Precourt said in a statement. “Claudio is an exceptionally qualified talent as a highly-decorated US soccer legend and an experienced executive who understands the dynamic nature of MLS as well as the global marketplace. His unrivaled experience and accomplishments, combined with his impeccable reputation as a leader within a global soccer enterprise, will provide our club with a strong foundation to build a very special team and soccer culture here in Austin.”