“We're playing a club that we know really well, one of our next-door neighbors, and for bragging rights.”
That’s what’s at stake on Saturday afternoon as New York City FC’s academy sides face off against their Red Bull counterparts in a series of games presented by BodyArmor. All six academy teams - from U12, U13, U14, U15 and U17 - will participate in rivalry games, with the action kicking off on Saturday morning at 10:30AM EST at St. John’s University (Belson Stadium) and DaSilva Memorial field (more information can be seen below).
Hugo Guzman, Performance Phase Academy Coach for the U15s, is already embracing the spirit of the occasion, even several days out.
“I think there’s major excitement, especially this season where we're going get to play more of this kind of games, against MLS academies. The level of those games are important to us for where we want to get the players to, and the experience of that level.”
With these players still in the early throes of their soccer journey, Saturday also represents new ground for many. The presence of fans adds a unique dimension – a spotlight for them to show who they are as players.
“Who doesn't like fans at your games? It’s a really good atmosphere and when you score a goal they’re going to go crazy,” U15 player Cris Arias said confidently.
Preparation for this weekend has been built on a foundation of diligence and determination.
“We want to do well, we want to perform well, we want to win,” Guzman added. “Ultimately, this is another experience for the guys, another stepping stone in their careers and to improve and learn from.”
And for some, like Arias, they’ve already sketched out the kind of specifics that will send them home happy from an academy derby.
“A good game would be no goals in and three goals scored,” he said.
New York Academy Derby schedule: Saturday, 9/25
U12 – NYCFC vs. NYRB 10:30AM (DaSilva Memorial Field)
U13 – NYCFC vs. NYRB 11:30AM (Belson Stadium)
U12 - NYCFC vs. NYRB 12:30PM (DaSilva Memorial Field)
U14 – NYCFC vs. NYRB 1:30PM (Belson Stadium)
U15 – NYCFC vs. NYRB 3:45PM (Belson Stadium)
U17 – NYCFC vs. NYRB 6:15PM (Belson Stadium)
Guzman Interview Academy Derby