July 6, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Queensboro FC has announced that it has signed a new head coach and that the newly-established team won’t begin playing until 2022– a year later than expected.
The first-ever Queens professional soccer franchise announced Monday that Spanish coach Josep Gombau will manage the team.
Gombau, whose 24 years of coaching experience spans four continents, will also serve as the club’s sporting director.
Queensboro FC was expected to debut in the United Soccer League Championship Division II professional league – a tier below Major League Soccer – in 2021. However, the club said yesterday that it is delaying the launch citing the impact COVID-19 has had on the borough.
The club said its youth academy– an important component of the franchise– was disrupted due to the virus. Club officials said that they need to have a talent pipeline to the senior team fully established before they enter the league.
Queensboro FC said it also needs to finalize stadium plans which include finding a stadium for the academy team to play in from March 2021.
In the meantime, 44-year-old Gombau will join forces again with Queensboro FC co-owner David Villa to put these structures in place. Gombau previously helped develop Villa’s DV7 global soccer academies.
Gombau, according to Villa, has the right credentials and is the perfect choice for both roles.
“For certain, a coach of this caliber will help take soccer in this country to a new level,” Villa said.
“Together, we will oversee all sporting aspects of the club, laying the groundwork for us to succeed at the highest level and be recognized all over the world,” Villa said.
Gombau previously worked as head coach of FC Barcelona’s youth academy where he helped develop the club’s famed “FCB Escola” system around the world. The program trains and educates boys and girls aged between 6 and 11 years old. It has produced some of Barcelona’s biggest stars including Lionel Messi.
Gombau has won two national league titles with Hong Kong outfit Kitchee SC and won the Australian Cup with Adelaide United.
He has also had stints with the Western Sydney Wanderers, Australia’s U-23 national team, and was assistant coach for Australia’s senior national team when they qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. His last role was as head coach of Odisha FC in the Indian Super League.
Gombau, who lived in Queens from 2015 to 2016 when he worked as Technical Director of the DV7 Soccer Academy, said he wants to help the city in its renewal and revitalization.
He said this can be done 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,” Gombau said.
“Our attacking style of play will undoubtedly bring global recognition and fan excitement – while helping continue to grow the game in America.”
Not sure if FC New York was the first professional team either, but Queensboro cannot lay that claim. FC New York played back in 2011 at Belson Stadium for the United Soccer League.