NEW YORK, N.Y., February 9, 2022 – New York City Football Club (NYCFC) today named Matt Pilkington as Head Coach and Danny Cepero as Assistant Coach for the newly launched NYCFC II team as part of MLS NEXT Pro.
Pilkington has been with the NYCFC Academy since 2016. Serving as Head Coach of the U-15/U-16 and U-19 groups culminating with the U16 Generation Adidas Cup Premier Division Champions and back-to-back National Championship titles with the U-19s. An experienced coach, the Rochdale, England native has coached every Homegrown player NYCFC has signed to their First Team to date.
Pilkington said: “It’s an honor to be part of this new endeavor and write the next chapter in the history of this Club. I'm passionate about helping players grow and develop, I look forward to the opportunity to do so. I think this is a really important step in the evolution of our Club and I’m excited to use my experience to connect with players and help them achieve their goals. MLS NEXT Pro will provide a competitive and professional environment for these players to master their craft with a pathway into our First Team as the ultimate goal.
‘’I would also like to thank NYCFC affiliate, Downtown United SC (DUSC) for playing a major part in my career and development as a coach and leader. The NYCFC affiliate clubs have played a pivotal role in the development of the academy and DUSC is a wonderful organization that has helped me tremendously.
‘’It’s going to be an extremely busy few months as we build this team and start this Club from scratch, but I'm excited for the challenge and can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Prior to NYCFC, Pilkington acted as the Technical Director with Club affiliate Downtown United SC for the U-12 through U-18 boy’s group. While attending George Washington University, the Head Coach played two years on a full-athletic soccer scholarship before going on to represent the Richmond Kickers in the A-League, the former U.S. men’s professional soccer league. The Head Coach holds a U.S. Soccer Federation A FIFA Coaching License and recently completed the U.S. Soccer Pro License Course.
Cepero has been the Academy Goalkeeper Coach since 2017. The UPenn alumnus previously served as the assistant coach at the University of Louisville for five seasons, where they made five NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinal appearances in eight seasons. The Cardinals ranked sixth in the nation in shutout percentage with 12 shutouts in 20 matches in 2017. The Baldwin, N.Y. native played in Major League Soccer for the New York Red Bulls, making his debut in 2008. The goalkeeper became the first in his position in MLS history to score a goal from open play.
Cepero: “I am so proud to be part of building NYCFC II from the ground floor. Being from New York and having played professionally in the Tri-State Area, I look forward to providing young talent from this area the opportunity to grow their game. This is an exciting step in my career, and I can't wait to work with the great group of people we have at NYCFC that are so passionate about developing players both on-and-off the pitch.”
David Lee, NYCFC Sporting Director, added: “We are proud to name Matt and Danny as the first members of NYCFC II’s technical staff. Given the success Matt and Danny have experienced in our Academy in developing Homegrown talent, we felt they were perfect to help guide our young talent as they progress.
‘’We have seen first-hand the respect and trust they have from the players. They know our football philosophy extremely well and have played an important role in ensuring this runs seamlessly throughout our Academy at all levels. We really believe that NYCFC has become one of the top academies in the country and Matt and Danny have played an important part in that, along with so many other talented coaches. We know they will bring that same leadership, experience and expertise to NYCFC II as we look to provide a suitable pathway for our most exciting talent to develop and play for the First Team.”