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ClaudioReyna 

Claudio Reyna

Sport: Soccer

Born: July 20, 1973

Town: Livingston, New Jersey

Claudio Reyna was born July 20, 1973 in Livingston to Maria and Miguel. His father, a first-division soccer player with the Independente club in Argentina, moved to the U.S. in 1957 to work construction. He returned to Argentina in the late 1960s to marry Maria, and they moved to the U.S. shortly thereafter. Claudio was the first of two sons; his brother's name is Marcelo.

Claudio was already playing and practicing the game at a fairly high level in his back yard at the age of 5, particularly when it came to passing. His father—who continued to play semipro soccer in New Jersey—coached Claudio’s club teams well into his teen years. Claudio played high-school soccer for St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark. Tab Ramos had gone to the school and Gregg Berhalter was a teammate of Claudio’s on the Gray Bees. St. Benedict’s did not lose a game during the three years Claudio served as the starting midfielder for the varsity, and he was named prep Player of the Year as a junior and senior.

In 1991, Claudio accepted a scholarship to the University of Virginia. There he played for Bruce Arena, who would become the coach of the national team. The Cavaliers won three straight NCAA championships. Claudio was named Soccer America Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993, and won the Hermann Trophy in 1993 as the country's top soccer player. Several years later, Soccer America named Claudio Male Player of the Century.

Claudio was a key part of Team USA for the World Cup in 1994, but injured his hamstring prior to the tournament and did not play. That fall he joined Bayer Leverkusen, a team in the German Bundesliga. In 1997, he was loaned to VFL Wolfsburg, and became the first American to captain a European club. He also competed in World Cup ’98, ’02 and ’06, serving as captain. His nickname in Europe was Captain America.

Claudio was named to the 2002 All-Tournament team; only two other Americans had earned that honors before him. In all, Claudio would participate in 111 international matches as a member of Team USA—including the 1992 and 1996 Olympics—scoring a total of eight goals, including two in World Cup competition..

After a stop with Rangers FC of the Scottish League, Claudio played for the English Premier League teams in Sunderland and Manchester City from 2002 to 2007. He suffered through a series of leg injuries during this time. Claudio returned to the USA to play for the New York Red Bulls during the 2007 season. He retired early in the 2008 campaign after injuring his back.

Claudio is married to Danielle Egan, who was a member of the women’s national team in the 1990s. The family lives in Westchester. Claudio was enshrined in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012.

 

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