With the calendar turning to the month of August, that means the start of a brand-new Academy season has begun.
This started with the U-17’s training on Monday, August 2, and with the start of training brought a new, but familiar face. The U-15’s Head Coach from last season Jonathan Rhodes will be moving up to be the U-17’s Head Coach this season.
“Well, it’s still incredible early into the process with the new group so hard to fully articulate,” Rhodes said. “Certainly, excited to be given the opportunity to continue the development of the players that I had previously worked with over my first two seasons in my role with U-15s.”
This new U-17’s group will be exciting to watch, especially after their last two matches of the spring season as U-15’s. First, they defeated rivals New York City FC, 2-0, at the New York Academy Derby, with Patrick Shaw and Nathan Worth scoring the goals. Then, they finished their season with a 1-1 tie against Philadelphia Union Academy.
“We are working on our collective team goals over the next few weeks so I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with as a group,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes is very optimistic heading into the fall season, especially with possibility of more MLS opponents on their schedule looking more and more likely.
“Having had a very challenging 2020/21 season from a schedule standpoint and firstly looking forward to getting closer to a more traditional type of season,” Rhodes said. “The projected schedule looks to be very weighted towards playing more MLS academy opponents than in previous years which always provides a different challenge.”
With the training schedule picking up over the next few weeks, Rhodes and his group are looking to prepare for their first match in September, but also beyond that.
“For me the message is consistent regarding their individual development: 'Learn to love the process,' I believe if they can manage to achieve this, we will always develop,” Rhodes said. “The connection then comes between the players all recognizing each other’s individual efforts/sacrifice’s and trusting each other to do their roles to the best of their ability.”