NYCFC II Head Coach Matt Pilkington has hailed the team’s first competitive game as a ‘huge’ moment in the development of the Club.
Pilkington will take charge of NYCFC II as they prepare for their first-ever competitive match in MLS NEXT Pro on Sunday against New England, with kickoff scheduled for 5:00PM. Speaking ahead of the game at Belson Stadium, Pilkington confirmed the excitement in the camp, as the club prepares to initiate another major step in player development.
“Everyone in the Club is very excited for the start of the season,” Pilkington explained. “The players are very excited, we've been working hard for the past few weeks to prepare for the game. I think it's a huge stepping stone for the development of the Club and the ability to bridge the gap between the Academy and the First Team.
“We're excited, we've spent a long time preparing for this, not just in the past few weeks, but over the past few months, and maybe even years. I think everyone is raring to go and looking forward to getting on the pitch and trying to continue the quality of what the First Team has created and also our Academy players and teams have done in the past.”
Earlier this week the Club announced the initial roster for this season which included a group entirely local to the Tri-State area. They will be joined by players from the First Team and while one of the key aims of NYCFC II is to aid in the development of the Club’s young players, Pilkington was keen to stress that he is also keen to produce a winning team on the field.
“We strongly believe that if we develop the players to the best of their ability, and we focus on that aspect of the game, then the results would and should follow,” he explained. “We also have to balance both. It’s a professional league and it's not purely about development, it's about combining both. We believe that results and winning is part of their development so we don't solely focus on the results side, but if we do our jobs, and the players perform, and they train hard, and they work in the system and work in the philosophy of the Club, then they will go hand in hand.
“We have now the consistency of what the Academy players can bring through to the second team and then into the First Team. There’s a continuation of the development philosophy and defined style of play, that allows us to develop players and create a progressive style of play that also should match up with some results. Given the quality that we have and the ability to push through young talent, as well as potential talent coming down from the First Team that may need extra minutes, I think that really creates a good approach to the program.”
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