Long before Claudio Reyna became U.S. World Cup Team captain and New Jersey’s most successful and best-known international player, the Reyna name was synonymous with great soccer in the Garden State. It was all thanks to Miguel Angel Reyna, the Argentina-born player who fell in love with the game as a youth on the neighborhood fields in Buenos Aires, played 12 seasons with some of Argentina’s most successful clubs, then moved to America in 1969 where the Reyna name became one of the best known in New Jersey’s soccer community.
One of eight Reyna children born in Cordoa, Argentina, Miguel moved to Lomas de Zamora near Buenos Aires and by age 10 was developing his skills at the famed C.A. Independiente Youth Academy where he spent eight years as he progressed through the soccer ranks.
At 18 he moved to Los Andes and played four season in Argentina’s Primera B. After marrying his wife, Maria, in 1969 the couple moved to New Jersey where they settled in Orange and built a family with sons Marcelo and Claudio. Miguel soon made his mark on New Jersey soccer playing in the Italian American League for five years with Vallata Inernazionale before moving on to the L.I.S.A. League and playing six years with Sporting Club Portuguesa of Newark. Soon after, Marcelo and Claudio developed their father’s passion for the game, playing in youth leagues in Springfield where the Reyna family settled.
A volunteer coach for four years in the Springield Recreation program, Miguel moved on to coach for 10 years at Union County Sports Club that trained and played at historic Farcher’s Grove in Union. During that span, Miguel’s expertise as a coach led to five N.J. State Cup titles and seen consecutive Cosmopolitan Junior League championships. That led to Miguel’s greatest satisfaction in soccer as he developed many outstanding young players, including Rob Johnson, Gregg berhalter and his own son, Claudio.
Using the lessons they learned from Miguel Reyna, each of them went on to outstanding careers of their own. Johnson played at Rutgers, then professionally with the metro Stars and is now a coach at Temple University. Berhalter starred at North Carolina University before heading to Europe where he played in England for Crystal Palace and 1860 Munich while representing the U.S. At the U-20 level and earning over 20 ‘caps’ for the U.S. While playing in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. Claudio led Virginia to three NCAA national titles and twice was named U.S. College Player of the Year. He played professionally 13 years in Europe with Bayer Leverkusen and VFL Wolfsburg in Germany, Glasgow Rangers in Scotland, and Sunderland and Manchester City in England.
He starred for the U.S. At youth and senior levels, earning 112 ‘caps’ for the Men’s National Team over a 13-year international career. Claudio played in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and in the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups for America, and served as captain in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Now retired and living in Springield, Miguel Anel Reyna maintains his passion for the world’s ‘beautiful game’ as he continues to follow the sport at all levels in New Jersey while watching the third generation of Reyna soccer player – his six grandchildren – develop their talents in the sport that made the Reyna name synonymous with superb soccer in New Jersey. And it all began thanks to Hall of Fame legend, Miguel Angel Reyna.