July 20, 2012
Claudio Reyna always has had his priorities straight when it came to his family
Before his son Jack Reyna was stricken with cancer, Claudio Reyna always knew where his priorities lay.
Claudio Reyna played soccer with his son Gio in 2010.
Photo by Michael Lewis
Claudio missed his induction to the National Soccer Hall of Fame prior to the U.S.-Brazil match in Landover, Md. to be with his ailing son on May 31, in his moment of glory.
That should have told you a lot about Reyna, former captain of the U.S. National Team.
But two years ago, I had a rare opportunity to see another side of Claudio Reyna, not the one who played for the likes of Rangers and Manchester in Scotland and England, respectively, not the one who toiled hard for the U.S. National Team, leading the team into the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, but one as a father.
During the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association State Cup championship on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in La Grange, N.Y. Reyna kicked the ball around with one of his sons in front of a goal of an open field before the club team he had helped found, New York Soccer Club, played a couple of matches.
Just another father and son kicking the ball around.
When I was growing up, it was my father throwing around a baseball or a football with me, but that only shows my age.
Claudio kicked the ball around with his son, Gio. I managed to take some photos. When the time is right, I will email them to Claudio.
As it turns out, I've known Claudio's wife, Danielle, much longer than him. I got an opportunity to watch her play for the North Babylon and Massapequa teams, a pair of State Cup winning side from the Long Island Junior Soccer League more than two decades ago (yes, she was some soccer player).
As you probably know by know, Jack Reyna succumbed to cancer at the age of 13 on Thursday. He had brain cancer.
In case you were wondering, the New York Soccer Club lost both of its matches that Saturday. But those results seem so inconsequential today.
For all the honors and accomplishments that Claudio Reyna has accrued and achieved through the years, the one image I will always remember will be him playing "soccer catch" with one of his sons.
Our condolences and deepest sympathies to Claudio, Danielle and the entire Reyna family.
Note: Here is a link to a video of Jack Reyna scored a goal off a header about a minute into the game for FC Westchester. www.youtu.be/B5nP5rbHiSY