MLS expansion side Austin FC has signed Paraguayan forward Rodney Redes as its first player, for a transfer fee that sources have told ESPN is $2.75 million.
Redes, 20, is on the books of Paraguayan side Guarani, and will remain with them before joining up with Austin ahead of its debut season in 2021.
"It is an honor to join Austin FC as the first player signing in club history, and I am excited for the opportunity to advance my career in Major League Soccer," said Rodney Redes.
"I look forward to representing Austin in competition and in the community. I've been watching Major League Soccer closely, and I am very excited to begin working with coach [Josh] Wolff to further develop my skills in a global league that has helped other Paraguayan players reach new heights."
Born in La Colmena, Paraguay, Redes has scored 12 goals in 82 league and cup appearances since making his professional debut with Guarani back in 2018.
Redes has spent time as a forward as well as a wide attacking player, and was off to an auspicious start in 2020, scoring three goals during the qualifying rounds of the 2020 Copa Libertadores to help Guarani reach the group stage of the tournament.
He had also scored twice in six league appearances before the sport in South America was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The words I use to best describe Rodney are versatility and impactfulness," Austin FC Head coach Josh Wolff said. "Rodney is a young player with qualities that can strongly influence any match as a result of his positional flexibility, eye for goal, and clear finishing quality.
"I am very pleased that we have secured a rising talent who demonstrates goal scoring ability in both the Copa Libertadores as well as his domestic league, and I believe that our supporters will appreciate his hunger and willingness to make Austin FC successful."
Redes is the first player to be signed by Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna, and he'll likely be signed to a young Designated Player contract.
Given that Redes will be 21 by the time he suits up for Austin, his hit to the salary budget will be $200,000 based on this year's MLS roster rules.
"Rodney is a dynamic, attacking player, and we are proud to welcome him as the first signing in the history of Austin FC," Reyna said.
"Rodney is precisely the sort of player we intend to attract to Austin FC. At a very young age, he has already registered strong performances and collected valuable big-game experience in major competitions. I am pleased that we capitalized on this brief July transfer window to sign Rodney, and our staff looks forward to working closely with him."
Wolff added: "[Redes is] a player that I think fits really well with what Claudio and I envisage this team being about. For him to be our first signing is a good indication of what we want to be on the field and off the field. He's a young, hungry, dynamic player and I think the more I watched him and the more I've interacted with him the more you realize he's a very focused young man.
"When he plays, he plays with real commitment, real passion and his Technical qualities are very clear. He's got very powerful running, he's a low profile guy, good change of speed with and without the ball and most importantly he's very goal-orientated."