Four-Time World Cup Veteran Will Lead the
Development of a Teaching Curriculum for Coaches
CHICAGO (April 7, 2010) – U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced the appointment of four-time World Cup veteran Claudio Reyna as the Federation’s Youth Technical Director in New York on Wednesday afternoon.
In his new position, the former captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team will oversee the design and implementation of long-term strategies for development of both coaches and players at the youth level in the United States.
“We are excited to have Claudio join U.S. Soccer as our Youth Technical Director,” said Gulati. “One of our main objectives has been to improve the development of our coaches and players across the country, and Claudio’s experience and background makes him uniquely qualified to provide the necessary direction to accomplish that goal.”
Reyna’s initial focus as Youth Technical Director will be to create a structure and plan to improve the coaching of 6-12 year-old players. He will craft a teaching curriculum that will be used to help educate coaches across the country and provide direction on what their specific focus and goals should be when working with young players.
As a player with more than 100 caps and a 15-year professional career in the Bundesliga, Scottish Premier League, English Premier League and MLS, Reyna combines vast international playing experience with a understanding of the youth system at home, having risen through the ranks growing up in New Jersey and then playing for the University of Virginia. His exposure to a wide variety of coaching methods along with his insight on the American player provide him with a distinct perspective on how to move player development forward.
As Reyna begins the process of building the framework of the curriculum, he will be studying the various methods of player development that are utilized globally, spending time with numerous top-level clubs, managers and administrators involved in the game.
“After evaluating the elite player development process in the U.S., the best way to improve the large base of youth players is to focus on developing their coaches,” said Reyna, who speaks Spanish and holds a USSF “A” Coaching License. “By providing better direction for our coaches we can begin to improve the environment for our youth players, which is a crucial element for their development. I look forward to working with the Federation to come up with a plan that we can begin to implement in the near future.”
The appointment of a Youth Technical Director continues the implementation of plans developed by the Player Development Task Force, which was created in 2006 to review all aspects of player development in the United States and recommend a course of action.
The creation of Reyna’s position follows the successful launch and growth of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Launched in the fall of 2007 after a detailed review of player development systems in the U.S. and across the world, the Development Academy provides players, coaches and referees a nationally-coordinated program designed to enhance their development environment. Created in accordance with U.S. Soccer Best Practices, the Academy has improved the training environment, provided relevant, high-level matches on a consistent basis, increased the level and efficiency of scouting for the national teams and provided players, coaches and referees with more structured programming.
ABOUT CLAUDIO REYNA
Widely regarded as one of the best U.S. field players ever, Reyna utilized his skill, vision and composure as a member of four World Cup squads (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) and two Olympic teams (1992, 1996). He earned 112 caps for the United States in a 12-year international career, captaining the squad to an historic quarterfinal run in the 2002 FIFA World Cup where he became only second American to be named to a World Cup All-Tournament team. One of the most accomplished American players in Europe, he played more than three years at famed Glasgow Rangers, winning a Scottish Premier League championship and competing in the prestigious UEFA Champions League. He also had stints in the German Bundesliga at VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, as well as the English Premier League, where he wore the captain’s armband at Sunderland before moving to Manchester City.
He is also one of the most gifted youth players in U.S. Soccer history. A two-time Parade Magazine National Player of the Year at St. Benedict’s Prep High School in Newark, N.J. (1989 & 1990), the Gatorade Player of the Year led the school to consecutive state titles in his junior and senior seasons. One of the most accomplished players in college soccer history, he helped lead the University of Virginia to three straight NCAA titles in 1991, 1992 and 1993, winning the 1992 and 1993 Missouri Athletic Club’s Player of the Year Award.
A native of Livingston, N.J., he currently resides in Bedford, N.Y., with his wife Danielle, sons Jack, Giovanni and Joah-Mikel and daughter Carolina. He is fluent in Spanish, having been raised by a father from Argentina.