New York City FC should have a lot of pride in their academy. On Sunday, former players Gio Reyna and Joe Scally lifted the CONCACAF Nations League trophy with the rest of their American teammates after a 2-0 win against Canada. This came after a big 3-0 win over Mexico in the semifinals.
While Reyna never signed with the first team like Scally, he is arguably the best academy product. When he is healthy, he is one of the best players on the pitch with the USMNT, and these past two games proved this. In fact, he assisted on both goals against Canada, and then proved how vital he was for the attacking sequences.
Sadly, due to injury, he had to come off at halftime. The difference in play was clearly there when he came off, but the USMNT was able to continue a solid performance to grab the win.
Former NYCFC academy players in the USMNT proves it works
Then, Scally received the start against Canada, and the former NYCFC player shined, both defensively and offensively. He did well to cover and mark Alphonso Davies, who is one of Canada’s best players game in and game out. It was not perfect, but he did well enough with some help from USMNT friends.
Both players clearly have a future with the national team, pending that Gregg Berhalter actually makes the correct roster decisions. Plus, James Sands will now get his opportunity in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will predominantly be a Major League Soccer based roster.
Sands played well in the last Gold Cup, and now he will get his shot again. As such, all three players, who all played in the NYCFC academy, are proving that the academy itself can lead to success. This is not just on a club level, both European and MLS, but with the national team as well.
Now, it is unknown whether Sands will start, but just being a part of the national team while playing well for a struggling NYCFC is enough evidence of his talent. Yes, the first attempt in Europe did not go according to plan, but that does not mean the door is closed.
Still, Reyna, Sands, and Scally all started in the NYCFC academy. The development and skills learned within allowed Reyna to move to Dortmund, and then allowed Sands and Scally to sign their first professional contracts with the club. If the academy was not good, then it is unlikely these players would have found the level of success that they have today unless they spent their youth years elsewhere.
Of course, there is still quite a bit of growth that can occur, and perhaps in the future other former academy players, despite whether they played with the first team, will find their way to the USMNT. But New York City FC is doing a good job with developing the youth, for the fact three former academy players played or will play with the USMNT this summer is proof the academy works.