DUSC is proud to share that Academy Technical Director Gustavo Palomino and three of our Boys 2004 players — Ben “Zico” Altman, Aidan Clelland and Mohamed Kuessom — were selected by New York City FC’s Youth Technical Director Rodrigo Marion to participate in their inaugural City Select program. Youth teams composed of 2003 and 2004 players from affiliate clubs traveled to Manchester, trained in Man City’s premier training facility and scrimmaged against Man City youth teams as well as other EPL academies. For each team, two coaches from the youth affiliate teams were asked to coach alongside Marion.
NYCFC started the City Select training program as a way of getting some of the best players from their youth affiliate teams to play together as a team, and expose them to the very high level of training of a professional environment. It is their philosophy that Academy selection should not be made until U14 as players are developing at different rates, and long travel distances put a lot of strain on them academically and socially. Though selection to City Select does not guarantee a player a spot in NYCFC's Academy, it is a way of getting some of these players together at an early age so that they can start to gel as a team.
Along with training and playing together, the players watched professional games — including, for the 2003 players, the first stage of the Man City/Real Madrid Champion’s League semifinal. These experiences, along with traveling, living and eating together, helped bond the players and expose them to the world of professional soccer.
According to Gustavo, ”It was as great a learning experience for the coaches as it was for the players.” And as the players bonded, so did the coaches, being immersed in Man City culture, philosophy and methodology — and learning lessons they can bring back and share with all of DUSC.