Red Bulls Academy Coach Q&A | Gareth Tyack & Zachary Herold

Each month, will catch up with coaches from the Red Bulls Academy.

Gareth Tyack is a native of Oxford, England. After joining the Red Bulls in 2012, Gareth has coached at every level of the club’s development pyramid and currently oversees the club’s pre-academy Teams. Gareth has been actively coaching for 15 years and currently holds his USSF A Licence.

The Red Bulls pre-academy U-10 and U-11 level offers regional teams throughout New York and New Jersey, serving as a feeder system for the Red Bulls Academy. The teams hold practice three times each week, two locally, and one centralized session for all the teams. The pre-academy team offers unparalleled player development tools for the age group, including pre-season goal setting, athletic testing, video analysis, individual development plans, and annual review meetings. The team holds a pre-season residential camp at Golden Goal Tournament Park, and also offers 12 weeks of indoor training during the winter months.

Zachary Herold, raised in Port St. Lucie Florida, moved to the Northeast region five years ago in hopes of becoming a coach. Having started at the bottom of the development pyramid with the Red Bulls, Zach is now the head coach of the U-12 Academy team. 

The U-12 academy team is the first age group in the Red Bulls Academy. As with all academy teams, the program is fully-funded, offering a professional environment with four training sessions per week cost-free. The team plays at the highest level of competition both locally and regionally, and competes in 3-4 national tournaments each year. In addition to full-time, certified coaches, the Red Bulls also provide a full medical and strength and conditioning staff to support the athletes.

Q: What is your soccer background?

Gareth Tyack: I grew up playing and coaching in the UK, and I’ve been with RBNY since

2012. I previously coached within our grassroots system and the Regional

Development School, and I now oversee our Pre-Academy teams.

Zachary Herold: I grew up playing the game from five- years old and at the age of 10, I remember distinctly knowing it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. From there I made the state & regional ODP team before development academies existed. It is the route that allowed me to try out for the national team at the age of 14. I was fortunate enough to be selected. When I graduated ninth grade, I was presented the opportunity to join the U-17 National Team in Bradenton, Florida to be a part of United States Soccer’s residential program. That earned me a roster spot on the 2009 U-17 FIFA World Cup representing the United States. Shortly after the World Cup and after a few trials in Germany, I decided to go professional instead of college. Unfortunately, soon after being drafted by Toronto FC, I was diagnosed with a heart condition that forced me to retire. It was not long after that I decided to get a coaching license and begin my career as a coach.

Q: What motivated you to get involved with coaching?

GT: I’ve always had a love of and passion for the game. I love working with young players who share that same passions.

ZH: To be honest the first few years, I just wanted to be close to the game. I did not have any motive except you could not keep me away from a soccer field. When I moved up north here and joined the Red Bulls Youth Programs everything changed. I met a lot of really knowledgeable coaches that inspired me to learn the game and teach it in a way that I had never been taught. I fell back in love with the game. I love learning and teaching the game to the next generation. 

Q: What do you see as the most important part of your job within the Red Bulls player development model?

GT: Our job with the Pre-Academy Teams is to identify the best young prospects in the Metro area and develop them for our Academy Teams, with the hope that they will one day go on to emulate Tyler Adams and Ben Mines and go on to represent our first team.

ZH: I feel my most important role is to inspire. I want to Inspire the kids to want to get better, to love the game, to be passionate about it and to remember at the end of the day that they’re kids. If the kids want to come back every day and are willing to be fearless to make mistakes in our environment, I know I’m doing my job. Within that I think it’s also important to teach the kids how we at Red Bulls have a different playing style to most and begin to teach certain principles that will identify us as a Red Bulls team anywhere we play. 

Q: How do you see your role?

GT: My role is to oversee the day to day running of the Pre-Academy Teams, which help bridge the gap between our Regional Development School and Red Bulls Academy. I take pride in helping our players transition into the fast-paced, highly-skilled academy setting.

ZH: I see my role ultimately being that of a teacher and role model. I love teaching and demonstrating the way things can and should be done. Within that, I think that my playing background allows me to inspire the kids and give them someone to look up to.

Q: What upcoming events are you excited about?

GT: We are currently in the process of building our teams for the 2019-20 season, which is always an exciting time of year as we welcome new players into the club.  We are also travelling to Philadelphia to play against the Union’s Pre-Academy Teams in April. Those games are always a good experience, as we pit our young players against another MLS club.

ZH: I’m excited to travel with our U-15’s to the Generation Adidas Cup event. In years previous this has been the highlight of the year as the competition is quality. I remember traveling for the first time a few years ago to this event for the U-12’s and saying to myself this is exactly where I want to be. Big games, big time players & in big moments... That’s what I loved as a player and it’s what I still love as a coach. 

Q: What is one soccer session that has impacted your team’s the most?

GT: We recently scrimmaged our oldest Pre-Academy Teams (U-11’s) against our youngest Academy Team (U-12’s).  This was a fantastic experience for our younger players as they got to test themselves against some of the top U-12’s in the region and see what it takes to make the jump from a pre-Academy player to an Academy player.

ZH: I’m not sure that I can think of just one certain session that sticks out as the most impactful. One would just be the initial gathering of the team where we travel to Golden Goal as a group for the first time. It’s here where the kids all room together and for the first time become a team. Until then many of them were likely the best player on their team and now it’s all about coming together and becoming a part of the Red Bull family. These sort of memories are what the kids will remember for the rest of their life. Traveling away from home, staying with their team and just playing soccer all day. What more could a kid ask for? 

Q: What is your most memorable soccer moment as a coach?

GT: Far too difficult to pick one!

ZH: My most memorable soccer moment as a coach would probably be winning in penalties against our local rivals while I was coaching in the pre-Academy. I had coached a lot of the players on the team for a few years and I had a great connection with not only the players but the families as well. Many of which I still keep in touch with now. To see the passion and joy on the kids’ faces when we won was a memory I’ll never forget and a picture I’ll always keep. 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

GT: The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the passion and love for the game in the players that we coach each day.

ZH: The most rewarding part of my job would have to be the effect I’m able to have in a child’s life in general. Many of these kids live and breathe soccer and to be their coach means they look up to me. It’s a big responsibility because not only am I trying to make an impact on each of their soccer lives, but also their character and maturity as young men. 

Q: What is the most important lesson you want your players to learn?

GT: Above everything else, we want our players to love the game, to be humble, to act with integrity at all times, and to understand the value of hard work and perseverance.

ZH: The most important lesson I want each of my players to learn is to never be afraid to make mistakes. As soon as you are afraid of what the outcome may be, you don’t show what your true potential could possibly be. I think Tyler Adams is the perfect role model for these kids. I was fortunate enough to be behind the bench for his game he played against Chelsea as a 16-year-old and the kid was just fearless. He’s never afraid of the moment and just plays 100% at all times. You see that now with Leipzig and all the praise he’s getting there, but anyone that’s ever been around him knows that it’s no surprise. A lot of it has to do with his mentality and not his talent. 

Q: What would you say to parents and players who are thinking about joining Red Bulls Academy?

GT: In my opinion, there really is no better place than RBNY for a young player to develop.  From the level of players within the club and the training environment which that creates, the quality of the coaching, top class facilities and a proven pathway to the first team there really is no better place to be.

ZH: For any player or parent thinking about joining Red Bulls, I’d say your child is in the right place to develop. As a club we are fully committed to not only develop the best talent in the area, but give them the opportunity to play at the highest level. Many professional clubs are very talented but may not have the support system to bring young kids up to the first team with so much pressure to win. I think Tyler [Adams] is just one success story of many that this country can be excited about. We see it with [Christian] Pulisic, [Weston] Mckennie, [Matt] Miazga & now Tyler, but it starts with the development. Red Bulls have proven with so many Homegrown players that we will continue to develop the best talent, but also offer them the opportunities to play at the highest level.