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Guest Column: Remembering Claudio Reyna’s time at NYCFC

Swagger, winning, sexual harassment: The disgraced former sporting director of New York City left behind a mixed legacy after leaving in 2019.

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
– Proverbs 16:18 (King James Version)

Claudio Reyna – now, and for the foreseeable future, disgraced – helped build New York City FC into a title contender after a stuttering inaugural season. I covered the Pigeons for the first three years of the team’s existence, and saw Reyna’s work first-hand. Reyna carried himself with swagger. I wouldn’t quite call it arrogance, but there’s a fine line between the two, and seeing the ridiculous, sad end of his narrative, it’s not hard to imagine how Reyna wound up where he is today.

One of the forgotten episodes of NYCFC’s founding was a documentary on the team simply titled, Win!, in which Reyna has a starring role. The film’s genius lies in capturing the gulf between how the team’s leadership imagined their first season would go — and how it actually went.

That first season was rough. It remains the only losing season in Pigeons’ history, featuring a shoddily-built team with three stars who struggled to play together, a badly-overmatched coach in Jason Kreis who joined the team as a can’t-miss leader and left it with his career permanently scarred, and marred by a farcical episode where one of those three stars – Frank Lampard – didn’t join the team until mid-season despite assurances by the team’s owners to the contrary. We don’t like talking about that first season, OK?

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