Austin FC, the soccer team that will be the city's first major league sports franchise, announced Monday that Rodney Redes, the 20-year-old Paraguayan forward, will join the club via transfer as its first-ever player signing.
"He's a young, hungry, dynamic player," Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff said during a Monday news conference. "He's a very focused young man. He plays with real commitment, real passion, and his technical qualities are very clear."
Redes will formally join Austin FC in January 2021. He will remain "on loan" with Club Guaraní of Paraguay's Primera División until the end of 2020, according to the club.
#LISTOS. Welcome Rodney Redes, our first signing. https://t.co/6VmtpvyKc1 | #AustinFC | @MLS https://t.co/HOCE2xGu1r— Austin FC (@Austin FC)1594040868.0
Redes is the first player to sign a contract with Austin FC; he arrives in Austin in January.
The club is not disclosing the details of the terms, and he will not being doing media interviews until he reaches Austin next year. Claudio Reyna, Austin FC sporting director, described Redes, who signed his first professional contract at age 18, as a "dynamic, attacking player" who is "precisely the sort of player we intend to attract to Austin FC."
- Name: Rodney Redes (pronounced "Rrod-nee Rreh-dess")
- Position: Forward
- Height: 5'8"
- Born: February 22, 2000
- Age: 20
- Birthplace: La Colmena, Paraguay
- Nationality: Paraguay
"To have our first player, for our fans to be able to picture Rodney running in our stadium, and to be able to start piecing together our team, is exciting," Reyna said. "Today is day we can really celebrate for our fans and the club."
The stadium in north Austin is expected to open early next year, ahead of Austin FC's inaugural season.
The pandemic has "slowed down" and otherwise changed recruiting efforts, particularly from hard-hit countries in South America, where the COVID-19 situation is "very bad at the moment," said Reyna, whose family is from Argentina, which borders Redes' home country.
He said the majority of the team's recruiting and signing will be done later in the year. Officials are looking for a balance of young new players and more experienced ones in their late 20s and early 30s, Wolff and Reyna said.
Wolff described Redes as serious on the field, and jovial and smiling off the field. Redes, who speaks Spanish, will be arriving in Austin alone, with no family, Reyna said.
"He will be on his own in a new country," Reyna said. "It's a different dynamic when you have a player who is married with kids, has moved around a few times, speaks English, versus someone like Rodney who is going to need to be provided the support to adapt. It's something we're aware of from day one, and to make sure he feels comfortable and welcome, and I know we will."
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