Jersey Number: 11
Hometown: La Colmena, Paraguay
Former Club: Club Guaraní
Redes (left) last played on Paraguayan team Club Guarani with Austin FC teammates Cecilio Dominguez (right) and Jhohan Romana. (Austin FC/Twitter)
On July 6, Rodney Redes made history as Austin FC's first-ever signee for a hefty transfer fee of $2.75 million. Then 20 years old, the young forward had already spent three seasons with Paraguayan team Club Guarani, appearing in 72 matches and scoring 122 goals with the club.
In what was a "dream come true," Redes played in eight matches in the Copa Libertadores, South America's highest ranking tournament, in 2020. With the help of teammates Cecilio Dominguez and Jhohan Romana, the young forward scored three goals in the tournament and helped the club reach the finals last December.
"Playing against a lot of teams, against a lot of countries was very eye opening," Redes said. "(I'm) looking forward to bringing that experience to Austin FC."
With Austin FC
Austin FC's first-ever signee got the star treatment when he joined the club, complete with a video promo and plenty of press coverage.
Redes may not yet have star power, but he brings a lot of life to the newly-formed program. He might not start for the club's first-ever match, but he could pack quite a punch as he develops into his prime.
Although Redes was still on loan for the remainder of 2020, sporting director Claudio Reyna was already predicting that Redes would bring goals to the budding team.
"Rodney's an attacking player who's going to provide us with goals and assists and just constant threats with his ability to run into spaces," Redes said. "He's a handful for defenders."
So far, Redes has lived up to expectations. He's already scored twice in the team's three preseason scrimmages and made the highlight reels for both the first week of training camp and the scrimmage against Louisville City FC.
In his weekly press conferences, Wolff has given Redes the nod for both his skill and energy.
"Rodney's always smiling (and) he works tirelessly," Wolff said. "His verticality, to run behind lines, to arrive in the penalty box, I think that's the most impressive."
With seasoned players like Dominguez and Danny Hoesen already no-brainers for the starting lineup, Redes will need to compete with more experienced players Kekuta Manneh and Jon Gallagher. He was Austin FC's first pick for a reason, though. At 21, Redes has potential as a starter for plenty of years to come as he grows into his prime.
Off the pitch
Redes grew up in La Colmena, Paraguay, a small town that was was also home to the country's first Japanese settlement. As a child, all he knew was soccer, Redes said in an interview with Austin FC.
"This place that I grew up is a very humble town," Redes said. "My life was soccer. Even on my birthday, all I wanted was a ball so I could play with my friends."
Redes, Dominguez and Romana all have an advantage to many of their fellow Austin FC teammates: they've already played on the same team.
All three played for Club Guarani in the 2020 season, giving them extra time to gel and find a groove on and off the field.
In November, Redes popped an assist to Dominguez to score for Club Guarani. Hopefully there's much more where that came from as they switch from yellow to Verde.
"I think the chemistry that we have on and off the field will be very important," Dominguez said on the two playing together for both teams.
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Austin parents and grocery store shelves are feeling the effects of a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Caused mostly by a February recall due to contamination issues, followed by the Abbott Nutrition factory closure in Michigan, the shortage has left Austin shelves barren. However, earlier this week, U.S. officials announced a plan with the facility to restart production.
In the meantime, local parents in crisis have turned toward the Mother’s Milk Bank to keep their babies fed.
HEB on East 7th has been picked clean of formula and is limiting purchases. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The milk bank—which takes donations from lactating mothers and dispenses milk to babies in the NICU—has been helping feed upwards of 30 families in need as the formula supply tightens.
According to the bank’s executive director Kim Updegrove, Mother’s Milk Bank has seen an uptick in calls from parents with healthy babies in need of help since the shortage began.
“We aren't used to hearing from families with healthy infants,” Updegrove said. “They're typically very upset, angry, frustrated, sobbing—it's scary to not be able to feed your infants. So in the past few weeks, those calls have been significantly increasing.”
Mothers are only able to donate if they are within a year postpartum, so Updegrove said they are constantly bringing on and retiring donors. While donors had been on a 30% decline leftover from 2021 when the shortage began, Updegrove said the shortage has led to mass community interest and more than 90 prospective donors in just the past few days.
“We and other milk banks are experiencing significant interest from the community—becoming milk donors and helping to turn around this crisis,” Updegrove said. “Every infant needs to be fed, every one of us can relate to that need, and we need to make sure as a community that it happens.”
Whole Foods downtown was also cleaned out of typical formula. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
While you may still be able to find formula at places like Whole Foods—which currently has goat milk, soy and plant-based formula in stock—Updegrove said it might not be what a baby needs.
Updegrove said it is best to buy types that say “infant formula,” as they are FDA approved and will provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals a baby needs. Plant-based, homemade, non-cow's milk or diluting formula may not provide the same nutritional value.
As the community navigates the shortage, Updegrove said the most important way to help out is to not panic buy or stockpile.
“This is a crisis for families,” Updegrove said. “This is the time for the community to gather together and figure out what everyone can do to help families with young infants.”
Next time you’re sitting at a red light in Austin, you may look over and see a car without a person at the driver’s wheel.
Autonomous vehicle tech company Argo AI has brought driverless operations to Austin and Miami, starting out with only company employees using the service. Later on, tests with Lyft and Walmart will carry out ride-sharing and grocery delivery services, with the help of a human safety operator. The company has already made moves on this front in Miami Beach where some Lyft passengers have used its autonomous vehicles with a human operator.
While its platform is designed for integration with multiple vehicle types, the test fleet uses the Ford Escape Hybrid and VW's all-electric ID.Buzz.
The Pittsburgh-based company says this progress on its autonomy platform has been more than five years in the making and boasted about reaching this milestone before others.
"Argo is first to go driverless in two major American cities, safely operating amongst heavy traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists in the busiest of neighborhoods," said Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO of Argo AI.
Expect to see the autonomous cars on the road during daytime business hours as the tech aims to learn from a diversity of road infrastructure and driving behaviors.
The company, which is testing in eight cities in the U.S. and Europe, has brought its tech to Austin as the company looks to expand in densely-populated cities. In particular, Argo is looking at ridesharing, delivery and logistics companies for integrating its autonomous vehicles into their digital services.
Argo anticipates its service availability to someday cover more than 15 million people in Austin, Miami and Washington D.C.
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