UAE, Abu Dhabi: Star players from New York City FC took to the field in Abu Dhabi to give special coaching sessions to boys and girls this week.
The youth players, who all attend City Football Schools in the UAE capital, were put through their paces on the pitch at Zayed Sports City by Jack Harrison, Rodney Wallace and Sean Johnson, who are all here as part of an Etihad Airways promotional tour. Following the session, the players then answered questions on what life is like as a professional player.
Competing in Major League Soccer in the United States, New York City FC is majority owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s City Football Group, which also owns Manchester City FC and Melbourne City FC.
Speaking after the coaching session, New York City FC and England U21 player Jack Harrison said: “It has been a great honour to be a part of the coaching session at City Football Schools in Abu Dhabi. The youngsters have been a delight to work with and are all very talented. The coaching set-up is very impressive and it is so important when you are starting out. Getting the basic skills right is a massive part of being a great player.
“The skills and knowledge that they are learning will be of huge value as they grow older, not only out on the football pitch but how they behave off it.”
The other players attending the session where New York City FC and US Men’s National goalie Sean Johnson and Costa Rican International Rodney Wallace.
Sean Johnson with players
New York City FC’s Left Winger Rodney Wallace, who successfully helped Costa Rica earn a bid to the 2018 FIFA World Cup added: “It’s my first time in Abu Dhabi, it’s a spectacular place. We have managed to see a lot of sights while we have been here, however, it’s been fantastic to come and coach the young children here today. Being at New York City FC has taught me so much and I’m really happy I get the chance to pass what I have learnt on to the next generation!”
Robert, aged 9, one of the children taking part in the session with New York City FC said: “It was so great to be coached by the players from New York City FC today, it has taught me a lot and I really look up to them. I’ve always dreamt of what it would be like to be a professional footballer and I would like to follow in their footsteps when I grow up.”
City Football School’s Head Coach, Simon Hewitt, said: “It is fantastic to have such incredibly talented young players at City Football Schools. The New York City FC team has shown them what it takes to get to the top.”
“Our aim is to develop skills, character and teamwork and having stars like Jack, Sean and Rodney with us for the day truly helps that.”
Rodney Wallace with CFS players
Away from the football field UAE fans also got to meet their heroes at an exclusive question and answer session at one of the hotels in the capital