Jonathan Rhodes joined the Red Bulls Academy back in August of 2019 and has enjoyed successful seasons with the U-15’s. This past fall season they owned a 10-1-1 record and only allowed nine goals, which was the lowest by any team in the Academy.
Rhodes joined the Red Bulls Academy after serving as Technical Director of Penn Fusion for a plethora of reasons.
“It’s been difficult to ignore the success the New York Red Bulls have had on the field over the last decade, especially in its ability develop and give opportunities to young professional players,” Rhodes said. “The in-game philosophy was something that I found interesting and wanted to learn more about the fine details of what the Red Bull game model looked like. When the opportunity to be part of an organization with this culture and history came available, I couldn’t refuse.”
Rhodes started coaching at Leeds United AFC as a part of a work placement in his college studies and for the 17 years before he joined Red Bulls Academy, he played a huge role in the Pennsylvania soccer community.
“The more you get involved in the game you quickly realize it’s all about the players and simply how can you help them be the best version of themselves as a player and person,” Rhodes said.
Being able to accomplish all he wanted in his first full year in 2020 was difficult to say the least due to the ongoing pandemic, but it allowed him to evaluate himself.
“The off-field break was a real opportunity to evaluate your coaching methodologies, make some adjustments and plan for the on-field restart,” Rhodes said. “Then we got back onto the field which was great but still had many obstacles to overcome.”
Despite the challenges that Rhodes and Red Bulls Academy faced, they were able to get back onto the field and do what they all love.
“We were able to get 17 games in during the fall which is a credit to the operation staff within our academy, every week the guidelines seemed to change so logistically we had to be incredibly flexible,” Rhodes said. “Seven of those games were against older opponents, this really forced the U-15 group into uncomfortable game situations at times, which they responded very well.”
Now with the 2021 spring season in view, Rhodes is looking forward to pushing the U-15 group to what they are capable of.
“As a coach I am always looking forward to seeing the individuals and collective group too progress. To view if they can reach the benchmarks they have set and even go beyond,” Rhodes said.
Beyond helping his players get better on the field, Rhodes want them to realize to cherish every moment they have on the field in 2021.
“The events of 2020 certainly forced us to not take anything for granted,” Rhodes said. “So, a personal objective I set myself was educate the players in how lucky they are to be given this opportunity and use that to create an extra level of intensity in our environment.”