On the evening of December 3rd, the Claudio Reyna Foundation held its annual holiday party at Hudson Terrace in Hell's Kitchen to celebrate another year of supporting youth sports and community health programs.
Despite the fact that one auction item went for $10,000 (six VIP tickets for the General Manager's luxury box at Yankee Stadium), ties were optional and the scotch was poured liberally. Even special guest auctioneer Jimmy Conrad, a former U.S. international, matched his tuxedo with a pair of red Nikes. Yes, this was Hudson River Blue's kind of scene.
Midway through the three-hour open bar (!), we were able to steal Reyna, a Manchester City and U.S. National Team veteran currently serving as Director of Football for NYCFC, to speak for a few minutes about New York's new team and its relationship with the English champions.
Hudson River Blue: Do you intend to sign a third Designated Player before the start of the season?
Claudio Reyna: Our goal is to have all three ready for day one.
HRB: Can you divulge if you have spoken with any U.S. National Team players about coming on as a DP?
CR: Not tonight. We can't discuss that tonight.
HRB: Is the club looking at particular positions of need on the pitch right now, or are your plans still holistic as the team takes shape?
CR: Really, we're looking at all positions. All positions are open. We haven't filtered down because we only have six players; seven now with Matt [Dunn]. Every position is still open. At some point we'll start narrowing [down.] Right now, we're still open.
HRB: Do you have an expectation for when Frank Lampard will begin training with the team?
CR: We're still figuring that out. We want to have him here from day one. I'm going to Manchester next week to meet with everyone and make sure we make the right decision. We're confident that Frank will be here with us. There's been a lot of quotes and comments and speculation from everybody; Frank gets asked about it all the time.
HRB: I'm sure he loves that.
CR: And Manuel [Pellegrini] gets asked all the time, but there have been no discussions [about a timetable]. He has a contract through December 31st with Man City, so when I go there next week we'll meet and talk about that. I think in some ways everyone needs to understand that we're a real tight family with Manchester City. They want us to do as well as we want them to do, so we're working and collaborating together on this. I feel we'll make the right decision for us. Manchester wants us to do well. We're going to make a decision that's best for the future.
HRB: How many Man City loan players will be coming to New York? Jason Kreis has suggested perhaps three or four this year.
CR: It's yet to be determined. The players have to come over here and we have to know that they can help us. We ideally would like the players to be here for a long period-- a whole season. Everything is very fluid in what we're doing. We're not being forced into anything. It's up to us. If we think a player can strengthen our squad, then we'll do that. This whole project is in its early stages, and in one or two years, all the players in Manchester will be very interested in what's happening [in New York]. They have so much talent over there, even at the younger ages.
HRB: Should we expect many of these MCFC loanees to be youth players?
CR: It's important to know that a lot of these players aren't "youth players," they're men. They're bros. They might be 20, but they're big boys.
HRB: We like what we've seen from Jose Pozo, who scored in the League Cup for Man City in September. Kelechi Iheanacho looked fantastic for MCFC in preseason as well, and he even spent some time training with the Columbus Crew this fall.
CR: And there's a few more. They're internationals, it's there's a lot of stuff to work through. If Jason wants a guy to come on board and we can do it and it makes sense, we will.
Even if HRB can't sneak in a reporter inside Claudio's luggage for his trip to Manchester next week, count on us to have all the news and notes... faster than a speeding Gullit! Stay tuned on @hudsonriverblue.