Get an intimate look at New York City FC as the team shares its talents with fans

Improve your soccer skills, pick up strategy tips, or develop a new hobby with exclusive virtual experiences featuring the First Team and staff of New York’s top Club.

New York City FC
10/05/2020

Guitar session

 

After an impressive early career playing in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, the renowned defender Gudmundur Thórarinsson is now dedicated to helping NYCFC win an MLS title and maintains an intense training regimen to get them there. But, his next greatest passion is music, and for Gudi, it’s more than just a hobby. Back home in Iceland, he’s equally well known as an artist as he is as an athlete. He’s been playing music almost as long as he’s played football, releasing hit songs and even becoming a semi-finalist on one of the country’s top talent shows.

In order to share more of his creative side, Gudi joined City Football Group host Arielle Castillo and an intimate group of Mastercard cardholders for a virtual chat and music showcase. As promised, Gudi picked up his guitar to give fans a demonstration of his musical talent.

“When you’re dealing with the emotional stuff that we all go through, it’s good to just sit down with a guitar, put down words, and write a melody,” he explains. “It’s freeing, it gives me joy, and it takes away that edge of anxiety.”

For Gudi, it’s all just a part of turning dreams into reality.

 

 

Skills session

 

Grab a ball and let two of NYCFC’s most talented players teach you skills you can practice at home and on the pitch. Forward Gary Mackay-Steven and midfielder Valentin “Taty” Castellanos were joined for this virtual skills session by City Football Group host Arielle Castillo, who began the experience by asking the players about their introduction to football. When it was time to demonstrate their tricks, Mackay-Steven brought out a Ronaldo-inspired move: “The Stepover.” Then, Taty showed fans how to execute a perfect “Rabona,” in which the kicking leg comes from behind the standing leg to sneak the ball past defenders.

Both players look forward to welcoming fans back to live matches soon and promise to play hard for them in the meantime. “It’s been strange to go out there without fans, but I appreciate the support of NYCFC fans last year when the team made such a deep run,” Taty says. “Now we can feel your support and we’re working every day to get better and better on the pitch for you.”

“Fans play a big part of making the atmosphere and spectacle that football should be,” agrees Mackay-Steven. “Hopefully when it’s safe to do so we can get them back in New York.”

 

 

Cooking session

 

Every New York City FC (NYCFC) fan knows that Ronald Matarrita has amazing skills on the field, but only his teammates have seen him work his magic in the kitchen—until now. The fan-favorite left-back and amateur chef recently joined City Football Group host Arielle Castillo for a virtual cooking class, where he demonstrated the national dish of his native Costa Rica: gallo pinto. “When I was a child, I would eat gallo pinto every day,” he says. “It’s the most popular dish in Costa Rica and the most delicious as well.” Broadcasting live from his kitchen, Mata said he asked his mother to teach him how to cook the iconic rice-and-beans dish after he joined the Club in 2016. “I started cooking when I came here because I was on my own,” he says. “I learned from my mom with video calls just like this one.”

Throughout the session, Castillo asked Mata viewer submitted questions, including a question about his favorite NYCFC goal during his 4 year tenure at the Club. “My favorite goal was against Montreal,” he says, referring to a memorable win in July 2018. “I came from the bench playing as a right-winger, received the ball from Jesus Medina, and I chipped it in.”

 

 

Tactical session

 

Get inside the mind of New York City FC (NYCFC) Sporting Director David Lee as he breaks down the ins-and-outs of the Club during a virtual tactical session. The longtime MLS veteran joined City Football Group host Arielle Castillo for a wide-ranging conversation about what it takes to be at the helm of a top-level team. Hailing from a small town in the southwest of England, Lee decided he wanted to enter the management side of the sport as a teenager—then took the necessary steps to make his goal a reality.

“At 16 or 17 I realized that I wasn’t going to make it as a soccer player, so took a different route to get into the sport,” he explains. “I went to university, and when I finished, I interned at my local third-division soccer team, where I set up their scouting analysis department.”  Lee showed viewers a series of slides outlining the process of finding new NYCFC players; he and his team rely on an extensive global recruiting system.

“One of our fundamental principles is that talent can be found anywhere,” he says. “We believe there are players everywhere who could play for New York, but we have to do the hard work to identify them.”

 

These experiences were filmed in 2020. Since then, some of the players may have left New York City FC.