With its first signing, Austin FC looks to develop a young forward

Rodney Redes
On July 6, Austin FC announced 20-year old Paraguayan forward Rodney Redes, left, as the first player in club history. (Courtesy Austin FC)

On July 6, Austin FC announced 20-year old Paraguayan forward Rodney Redes, left, as the first player in club history. (Courtesy Austin FC)

With the beginning of its inaugural season less than a year out, professional soccer club Austin FC has officially begun to build its roster.

Austin’s Major League Soccer franchise announced July 6 that it has signed Rodney Redes, a 20-year old Paraguayan forward, as the club’s first roster player.

“It is a special day. It’s our first of what will be many firsts,” Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said. “It is still a few months until we play, but to have our first player, to have our fans picture Rodney running in our stadium ... is exciting.”

Austin FC declined to disclose the transfer fee paid for Redes or the player’s wages. The Paraguayan international player will officially join Austin FC in January 2021, according to the team.

Redes joins Austin FC on transfer from Paraguayan professional team Club Guarani, where he has played since 2018. The young forward has appeared in six of Club Guarani’s seven matches in the 2020 season, scoring two goals, according to Austin FC. Redes has also scored three goals for Club Guarani in eight Copa Libertadores matches.

“Those games definitely help when you play at the biggest stage in South America,” Reyna said.

Austin FC will be just the second professional club in Redes’ career, as the forward signed his first professional contract with Club Guarani in 2018. Redes will continue to play for the Paraguayan club until his contract with Austin FC begins next year.

Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff said that extra window of playing time is an important bonus for the club as it constructs its roster. As leagues across the world stop and resume play in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Wolff said it was important to the team to know where Redes was going to play before arriving in the U.S.

“Part of this is to make sure our players arrive fit and sharp,” Wolff said July 6. “A lot of these players that are presented to us—it’s a challenge to find where they can play for the rest of the year. That plays into the decision.”

Wolff said Redes first appeared on his radar when the Austin FC coach was in Columbia with the U.S. men’s national soccer team this past January for the CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament.

Over the next several months, Austin FC officials met with Redes over Zoom calls to court the player and to identify Redes’ professional and international career aspirations.

“One of our shared goals as a club with [Redes] is that he makes it onto the Paraguayan national team. ... That is what he's hungry for—to put on his country’s jersey,” Reyna said.

According to Austin FC, Redes will occupy one of the team’s international player slots for the 2021 MLS season. For the 2020 MLS season, a total of 208 international player slots were divided among the league’s 26 clubs, according to MLS.

Redes’ signing follows a recent trend of MLS expansion clubs bringing in young international players for their inaugural signings.

“We have to help develop [Redes]. He’s not a finished product. We take that responsibility very seriously,” Wolff said.

In November 2018, Nashville SC, which began play in the 2020 MLS season, announced the signing of then-23-year-old Daniel Rios, a Mexican international, as the club’s first player. Months later, MLS expansion team Inter Miami CF inked deals with two 19-year old Argentine players as the club’s first-ever players.

The Charlotte MLS franchise, which is expected to begin play next year alongside Austin FC, has yet to announce its first player signing.

Now, Wolff and Austin FC staff will continue to scout players to round out the MLS expansion club’s roster. Reyna said Austin FC will scout the upcoming MLS Is Back tournament for potential roster players.

After temporarily suspending its 2020 season due to the coroanvirus pandemic, the MLS announced in early June that it will resume play with a monthlong tournament. The 2020 MLS regular season will resume play after the tournament, according to MLS.

Construction on the Austin FC stadium at McKalla Place in North Austin is still underway and is on track to finish on time for the 2021 MLS season, according to Tom Webb, vice president of public relations and broadcast for Austin FC.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


Campuses in Austin ISD will be closes to in-person learning the week after Thanksgiving break. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
All Austin ISD classes to be held online through Dec. 4

The district will also be providing free COVID-19 tests to staff and families Dec. 2-4.

Bicycles for public use are docked at a MetroBike station on Lake Austin Boulevard. Austin's $460 million Proposition B will include funding for additional bicycle lanes through the city. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Breaking down Austin's $460 million bond for bike lanes, trails, sidewalks and more

The bond will fun a bridge over Pleasant Valley Road connecting two ends of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail, among other improvements.

Of the total cases reported to date, 11,304 are estimated to have recovered, and there are an estimated 806 active cases in Williamson County as of Nov. 24. (Community Impact Staff)
Williamson County reports 337 new cases of coronavirus Nov. 24

Of the total cases reported to date, 11,304 are estimated to have recovered, and there are an estimated 806 active cases in Williamson County as of Nov. 24.

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
New Braunfels to host regional spelling bee and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

The Commissioners Court approved funding for the program Nov. 24. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County funds COVID-19 convalescent plasma program

Some 252 Williamson County patients have received the therapy of the 1,300 total patients.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

As of Nov. 23, there are 63 patients hospitalized, 23 in intensive care units and 12 on a ventilator. (Community Impact staff)
376 new cases, 2 additional deaths reported in Williamson County from Nov. 20-23

As of Nov. 23, there are 63 patients hospitalized, 23 in intensive care units and 12 on a ventilator.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Williamson County reports 203 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death Nov. 20

Williamson County reported 203 new cases of the coronavirus and one death Nov. 20.

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

The Trail of Lights has gone drive-thru this year, while the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is taking free, ticketed reservations to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.