Claudio Reyna touts youth development as a key focus for NYC FC

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Last week, New York City FC announced a strategic affiliation with eight local youth soccer clubs.

The move, Sporting Director Claudio Reyna explains, is just the first example of many to come from NYC FC. The club is looking to establish roots amongst the vast youth soccer community throughout the five boroughs, and these eight clubs are just the beginning of a wider attempt at outreach.

“[These clubs] are not going to be the only clubs and leagues we will have relationships with,” Reyna tells EOS. “This is just the first step in the clubs relationship with the New York City soccer community.

“I wanted to have some clubs that were like minded in development. We wanted clubs spread out in locations that made sense for us as well. There are certain clubs that are already established, and others we want to help develop. More than anything, it is the people we met at the clubs that are really committed to being partners with us, linking with us and working with us.”

The first crop of clubs are certainly an impressive bunch. Renown program Blau-Weiss Gottschee highlights a cast of youth clubs including Downtown United Soccer Club, Manhattan Soccer Club, Metropolitan Oval, New York Soccer Club, South Bronx United, Staten Island United and World Class FC.

Many of the programs already have reputations for developing strong youth talent.

Reyna says “we want to make them better.”

“Any young player at these clubs, they can get the opportunity in five, six, seven years to potentially play in our academy,” he explains. “One day, they can dream to play in New York City FC. We want to ignite them and give them that inspiration.”

Igniting that passion will included several initiatives. Reyna says the current plans discussed by his technical staff include the sharing of information from the club, the academy and even Manchester City. They also want to offer their affiliates “full access” to the NYC FC experience, going so far as allowing clubs to witness training during the week.

“It’s really important to me,” Reyna explains. “My role is not just the first team — it’s also the youth and development of players and coaches, the way we want to play, and really developing players off the field. It’s as important as what we do on the field. It is really important to me and is something I care about.

“I will also have my eyes on player development because eventually, we do want to bring some young players to the first team. It’s a little bit aways, but it is important to me.”


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  • Bronx Boy

    A very, very good start


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