The Spaniard is a well-traveled coach. His career has spanned four continents with notable success in Hong Kong and Australia, as well as work with the Australian National team and FC Barca Escola in Dubai.
Gombau crossed paths with future QBFC part-owner David Villa in Australia ahead of the Spanish legend’s move to Major League Soccer. Villa was stationed at Melbourne City FC in 2014, and in one of his few matches for the A-League side, he played host to Gombau’s Adelaide United.
Villa proved threatening throughout the 90, but strong goalkeeping denied him, with a late penalty giving the visiting Reds a 2-1 win.
Soon after, the two reunited in New York, where Villa was playing with new MLS outfit New York City FC as their first marquee signing.
As his playing career reached its penultimate stop, Villa began looking to establish an international youth soccer academy. Gombau became the academy’s technical cirector and spent some time living in Queens, where the DV7 Academy found its home.
“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,” said Villa. “He is the perfect choice for Queensboro FC, and I am happy to welcome him back to New York,
“For certain, a coach of this caliber will help take soccer in this country to a new level,” he added.
Gombau’s arrival in New York will come well ahead of the club’s USL debut, as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Queens caused QBFC ownership to postpone the club’s inaugural season until 2022.
Now with an extra year to lay groundwork for the club, the focus turns to the youth academy and forming deep roots throughout the borough.
It’s through relationships with the community that Queensboro FC aims to establish itself, and with Queens becoming the first epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, providing a helping hand to those in need became paramount.
“Community involvement is a pillar of Queensboro FC, and we’re doubling down on that approach,” said chief business officer Adam Behnke. “We’re going all in on the community, helping out wherever needed and making sure they’re supported first. Everything else down the road, ticket sales, sponsorships, marketing, will all play itself out.”
Behnke previously worked with DC United before helping build USL club Loudon United from scratch.
“Coming from DC United and Loudon United, I thought I had the perfect blueprint for building a new USL club,” said remarked Behnke. “The pandemic hit and threw all strategy out the window. We’ve certainly had to pivot and be agile.
“It’s challenging from very many perspectives, but we’re fortunate that we have the ability to adjust and play this as strategically as possible,” he added. “We’re grateful we’re not in a situation where we launched a brand new team just to play one game.”
With plenty of time to work with and the roots already established in the borough, the eventual debut of the new USL club will be anticipated. It’s clear everyone at the club is excited to build something special, especially the club’s latest addition.
“New York is a very special place for me and my family,” said Gombau. “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,” he added.