UVA soccer alum joins MLS
Just days after UK football megastar David Beckham stunned the sports world by announcing his intention to leave championship Spanish team Real Madrid – and igniting a surge in Major League Soccer ticket sales in the process – former UVA player Claudio Reyna has revealed that he will also be returning to the States to play with the New York Red Bulls.
Reyna, now 33, played at UVA in the early 1990's, leading the team to three national titles, and he also took the U.S. team to the quarterfinals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. (He was also team captain again during the 2006 tournament, but American soccer fans – at least the nationalistic ones – would probably rather forget about that, as the U.S. team was stomped out of the bracket rather quickly.)
The last few years have seen him playing in England with Manchester City, but upon arrival in New York, Reyna may be prone to flashbacks: in addition to playing a stone's throw from his Livingston, New Jersey hometown, he'll also be coached by Bruce Arena, who was his coach at UVA and again during the 2002 World Cup.
Major League Soccer was launched in 1993 in anticipation of the 1994 World Cup amid expectations that it would elevate enthusiasm for U.S. professional soccer to levels comparable to those in Europe. Nearly fifteen years later, it still has a long way to go, and Beckham's move to the Los Angeles Galaxy is being heralded as a potential watershed moment. Only time will tell, but Reyna and Arena may be in just the right place at just the right time.