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ACADEMY UPDATE: New York City FC Adds to Academy Coaching Staff

The NYCFC Academy has made several new hirings in preparation for the upcoming season.

MLS: New York City FC Patrick Vieira-Press Conference Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful opening campaign, New York City FC is looking to continue to expand their efforts within their development academy.

With the creation of their new U-16 squad, the club has hired Matt Pilkington to be the squad’s head coach. Pilkington previously served as the technical director for U-12-U-18 boys at NYCFC affiliate Downtown United Soccer Club. The England native has also coached the Bethesda-Olney US Soccer Development Academy and youth teams for D.C. United and the Richmond Kickers. Pilkington will be joining what appears to be an impressive Academy staff that also brings a local feel to it.

Along with the hiring of Pilkington is the U-14 head coach Jose Manuel Lara, who previously was a coach in the Real Madrid Academy and the Rayo Vallecano Academy in Spain. Assisting Lara and coaching the U-13 squad will be Hugo Guzman, who also serves as youth scout for New York City FC. Guzman previously coached the Sacramento Republic U-12/13 teams and was also the assistant technical director at Met Oval, another NYCFC affiliate club.

Pilkington’s assistant coach with the U-16 team will be Michael Dal Pra, who will also serve as the U-12 Academy head coach and scout. Dal Pra came to NYCFC after a coaching stint with New York Soccer Club, yet another NYCFC affiliate club. Dal Pra was part of the United States residency program and competed for U.S. youth teams before playing for St. John’s University and the reserve team at Udinese in Italy before moving towards his coaching career.

Serving as the Academy Goalkeeper Director will be Ruben Garcia. Garcia previously worked with the TSF Academy and coaches goalkeepers for the U.S. National Teams from U-14 to U-23. He has also worked with youth goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid and Getafe FC and had a 14-year professional career with clubs including Spanish Segunda Division ‘B’ team Toledo CV, Alaves CF, Albacete, Atletico Madrid CF ‘B’, Ciudad De Murica, Talavera and Alcala de Henares.

This looks to be a well rounded staff, and Sporting Director Claudio Reyna seems both pleased and excited for the new staff members and upcoming academy season:

“We’re very happy with the Academy staff we’ve pulled together. They have different backgrounds, but they share the same passion for developing young players,” NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said. “They’re very eager and excited to have started and really looking forward to having the opportunity to develop first team players and also young men, which is equally important for us as an Academy. Their responsibility is to not only coach, but also to be mentors who the players look up to and respect.”

The new Academy season should begin within the next month or so. Stay tuned to HRB for more Academy updates.