Manchester City Coach Rodolfo Borrell joins Austin FC
Rodolfo Borrell reached a significant milestone in his career this past June. Serving as an assistant coach under the renowned manager Pep Guardiola, he played a crucial role in Manchester City's historic achievement of winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup in the same year—a remarkable treble.
Given this remarkable success, one might wonder why Borrell would consider leaving. The answer lies in the interest shown by Anthony Precourt, the founder, CEO, and majority owner of Austin FC. The MLS club, now in its third year, had a vacant position for a sporting director, and Borrell appeared to be the perfect fit.
The interest was mutual, turning a professional introduction from over four years ago into a promising partnership. On June 30, Borrell officially took on the role of Austin FC's new sporting director and chief soccer officer. As he embarks on this new chapter in the capital city of Texas, he sheds light on the decision-making process.
"In early May, they reached out to me," Borrell revealed in an exclusive conversation with MLSsoccer.com. "Subsequently, the conversations evolved, leading to Anthony's personal visit to Manchester on behalf of the ownership. We spent a considerable amount of time together during the two and a half days he was here."
Borrell spoke highly of Precourt's dedication, passion, and vision for the club. Feeling wanted and valued was a crucial factor in his decision-making process, among other considerations, ultimately leading him to believe that this was the right place and the right time to join MLS.
With over 28 years of experience as a coach and executive at esteemed clubs like FC Barcelona, Liverpool, and Manchester City, Borrell assumes the responsibility of shaping all soccer-related aspects for Austin FC. His multi-year contract encompasses overseeing the first team, the MLS NEXT Pro squad, and the academy. This broad mandate involves molding the entire structure of the fledgling club from the highest level down.
While Borrell's coaching expertise was honed in Europe, he has been closely following MLS since 2015. This dedication meant staying up late in England to watch matches, initially focusing on Eastern Conference games due to the time-zone difference before later expanding his interest to Western Conference matches as well.
"My Saturday evenings were from 9 pm UK time until 5 am or sometimes 6 am, which was crazy because I would feel the effects during the recovery session on Sundays," Borrell jokingly admitted.
Borrell's admiration for MLS led him to consider making an unorthodox move if the opportunity arose.
"It's much more challenging to leave Europe during the midseason, although it can happen," he acknowledged. "The fact that the English season has ended helped in this case. However, even if the opportunity had arisen in the middle of my European season, it would have been almost impossible to decline because the excitement and potential of this opportunity are unparalleled."
Borrell firmly believes that Austin is the right place for him and his family. He is eager to contribute his knowledge and experience gained over nearly three decades at top-level European clubs to further develop the entire structure of Austin FC. He expresses great enthusiasm and happiness about joining the Austin FC family.
Borrell's arrival coincides with an intriguing period, with three weeks remaining in the MLS Secondary Transfer Window and roughly one-third of the 2023 season left to play. Precourt has indicated that roster moves are expected as Austin looks to build on last year's Western Conference Final appearance, which has been accompanied by a season of ups and downs. However, it seems that any roster adjustments may occur before Borrell's influence is fully felt during the upcoming winter transfer window.
"I'm aware that a lot of work has been done towards potential signings for the team," Borrell confirmed. "At the moment, I cannot confirm whether those moves will materialize or not. Ultimately, I trust the people who have been working at the club for an extended period. From now on, we will work together as a team."
Key figures in this regard include Josh Wolff, who assumed additional sporting duties earlier this year alongside Sean Rubio, the senior VP of player personnel, following the departure of the club's inaugural sporting director, Claudio Reyna. Borrell sees positives in their efforts and believes there is no need for a drastic change in the team's style of play, as they have already established a clear and identifiable approach.
"Based on what I have observed on television, the team already plays in a certain way, with a clear style," Borrell observed. "I don't believe that massive changes are necessary in that regard."