David Villa is a familiar face all around the world.
For almost two decades, the 38-year-old was a relentless goalscoring machine who represented some of the most reputable clubs in the game. He conquered Europe, Asia and North America, but is perhaps known best for his three-year stint at Barcelona, as well as for his international exploits for Spain.
But ask anybody in the vicinity of New York City – and those who are affiliated with the football club of the same name – and they’ll have entirely different memories of Villa.
Between 2014 and 2018, the diminutive striker helped the (relatively) newly formed MLS franchise – sister club of Premier League heavyweights Manchester City – put themselves on the global map, notching 77 goals as he helped grow the game on the east coast.
Not only did Villa become one of the club’s first icons, he then decided to stay put following his retirement from the game. Now, he’s taken on a business venture that isn’t too dissimilar to that of David Beckham down in Miami.
So what’s the deal?
Well, Villa is one of the leading figures at Queensboro FC – a newly-formed club based in the borough of Queens, New York – and has taken up the role of co-chairman.
‘Boro will enter the United Soccer League (USL) in 2022 – a year after they were originally slated to enter the professional ranks – and after months of planning, they’ve taken another step towards making their dream a reality by appointing a head coach – Josep Gombau, a Spaniard who has experience of working at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy.
“I have followed Josep’s career for a very long time, and had the opportunity to work with him to create the methodology of my DV7 Soccer Academies globally, as well as launch my very first academy in New York,” Villa said in a press release.
“He is the perfect choice for Queensboro FC and I am happy to welcome him back to New York. Together, we will oversee all sporting aspects of the club, laying the groundwork for us to succeed at the highest level and be recognised all over the world. For certain, a coach of this caliber will help take soccer in this country to a new level.”
As yet, there are no plans for Villa to lead Queensboro towards achieving MLS status. But with the league continually looking to expand, along with an increased pool of talent playing the game, there’s no reason why the club can’t aspire to rub shoulders with LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and co.
As for Gombau, he’s committed to bringing together the people of Queens, giving the borough something they can be proud of in years to come.
“New York is a very special place for me and my family,” he noted. “The city is in a unique moment right now, and I am looking forward to contributing to its renewal and revitalization through the lens of sport, community and grassroots efforts.
“I am committed to bringing together a diverse mix of homegrown and international players, to form the first ever professional soccer team that the borough of Queens can call its own.”