Sports

The Verde Report: New Sporting Director Rodolfo Borrell Sets His Goals for Austin FC Success

Rodo gets down to business


Rodolfo "Rodo" Borrell (Courtesy of Austin FC)

When Austin FC announced the home run hire of Rodolfo Borrell as the club's newest sporting director at the end of last month – bringing with him 28 years of high-profile experience in multiple roles at some of the sport's biggest clubs – the question was less, "What will he do?" and more so, "What won't he do?"

On Monday, meeting with Austin media for the first time at Q2 Stadium, the message from "Rodo" was clear: He's here to get his hands dirty.

"Sporting director is at the end of the day the boss of all football matters … I think it allows me to influence the whole structure much more than being a head coach," said Borrell, who most recently served as the right-hand man to Manchester City's revered coaching guru, Pep Guardiola.

"The fact that my background has gone through the academy, so many years coaching all the age groups, becoming academy technical director at two clubs like Liverpool Football Club and Manchester City Football Club … this background gives me complete knowledge of the whole structure," Borrell said. "And having been involved in all that I think it will be a pity not to try to help develop further the whole structure [at Austin FC]."

However, Borrell made it clear that his top-to-bottom approach to the job won't step on the toes of Josh Wolff, the club's third-year head coach.

"The leader of the team is Josh. Josh is who is going to make the decisions regarding the lineups, tactics, etc. This doesn't mean that I'm not an obvious huge resource that can help. But this is not about me dictating anything. He is the coach, he's going to be deciding, and I'm going to be supporting him."

In soccer, as in other sports, it's relatively common for new sporting directors (or general managers, or whatever the preferred term might be) to bring with them new ideas for the direction of the team, particularly regarding the head coach. But Borrell went out of his way to reassure that Wolff is not just Austin FC's guy – he's his guy as well.

"The fact that Josh is the head coach was one of the key factors of me deciding on taking this opportunity," Borrell said. "I think we have the right guy, we have the right stuff. And I'm not talking just for the sake of it. I've been following a lot the team and the way of playing, the way of trying to do things is already aligned with what I would like to help develop further."

That's no small endorsement from a man that just spent the better part of a decade working alongside the preeminent soccer mind in the world, winning massive trophies on a yearly basis. And for Wolff, Borrell's arrival means the freedom to refocus entirely on the week-in, week-out work of coaching rather than doing double duty as a fill-in sporting director. That could be of increasing value as Austin FC continues to surge up the Western Conference standings after a recent stretch of three wins in four games.

While Borrell, fresh off the plane from England, is not expected to have an immediate hand in ongoing negotiations for the current July transfer window, club CEO and majority owner Anthony Precourt believes Borrell's long-term impact could be transformational for a club looking to make its mark on an ever-evolving league.

"The coaches he's been around, the players he's been around, the experiences that he's had across three major clubs over 28 years – all that wealth of experience and knowledge is going to make us all better," Precourt said.

"He is going to be a game changer for Austin FC. He's going to be a game changer for our league."

Read more Austin FC coverage at austinchronicle.com/austin-fc.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin FC, The Verde Report, Rodolfo Borrell, Manchester City FC, Anthony Precourt, Josh Wolff

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