Coaches Corner: Ray Selvadurai, DOC of Manhattan SC
Traveling abroad to play soccer and learn from the best clubs in the world – who would pass up on that opportunity? International training and competition at professional Academies is a dream come true for most, but we know that the organization of it all can seem rather daunting to take on for your own club. It’s our goal to make those dreams a reality in the most stress-free way possible. We sat down with the Director of Coaching of New York’s Manhattan Soccer Club, Ray Selvadurai, to get his perspective on what a partnership with generation adidas international looks like from an organizational and coach’s perspective.
GAI: What is it like organizing a Team Travel program, from a club perspective?
RS: “To organize a trip, [generation adidas international] is really hands on with us. They give us a lot of guidance. All of the organization they take care of is great… It does seem like a huge endeavor, to take a team from the United States, and bring them over to Madrid, and bring them over to Ajax – but really, [generation adidas international] takes care of everything, and [they are] really a hands on group. They made the experience not just great for us on the field, but everything off the field, too – the logistics, everything was taken care of and it was just an easy trip.”
GAI: What has the feedback been from Players, Parents and Coaches that have participated in our programs?
RS: “To me as a Director, there is no better experience than to play international teams, to train in an international country, and to be apart of that culture is quite amazing. So the feedback that I get is great training, great matches, increasing the worldview of our players, which I think is quite amazing. And it also adds onto the bonding experience. The team gets together, they get to be overseas. Just a whole different experience for them. And the level of coaching that they get from the [Academy] coaches, from whatever club they are, whether it is Ajax or whether it’s Madrid, is top level. So it is just a great experience.”
GAI: How do programs like ours fit into your club’s vision?
RS: “Well, one of the things I always say is, ‘how do you measure success of your club?’ It is not about just winning championships, it is not about winning leagues – it is about developing players that have a passion for the sport – what better way increase that passion than to go internationally and go to Spain, and go to the Netherlands, and to be involved with the foreign clubs and their training experience. They feel that passion, they feel how important it is, how the lifestyle is in these other clubs, and it just increases that passion – so basically it increases our success.”
GAI: What was the experience like being the Head Coach of the Select program?
RS: “First of all, it was an honor to be selected to be the Head Coach for that select program. It really is a great experience from a coaching aspect…you’re dealing with players that have been selected from adidas clubs throughout the country, by the Directors of Coaching. The Directors of Coaching see these players year round. Not only are these really great players, but they are great people. They are people that conduct themselves well on a professional level, and when you take a group of players – I had a group of 17 year olds, born in 2000 age group – when they come together, you see the talent, it’s there, but the only thing is they have never played together. So for me as a Coach, I love that project – bringing people that don’t know each other, from all over the country, bringing them together, having them train with Real Madrid Foundation coaches, which is first rate.”
GAI: Players from your club have been chosen to participate in the Select program. How was the experience for them?
RS: “It shows them what it also takes to be a professional. It’s more than just your ability on the field, it’s how you carry yourself off the field – to be in a foreign country, to be in a culture that is different from home, to be out of your comfort level a little bit but yet training in the best facility in the world. I think what it shows is what it takes to get there – which is a lot – and how to be successful there, so if they had dreams to be a professional one day, they got a little bit of experience on this trip.”
GAI: Tell us a little bit about the Real Madrid Foundation Clinics held at Manhattan SC.
RS: “New York City is a tremendous environment – I would not want to coach anywhere else. It is very cosmopolitan, we have Players from all different walks of life – socially, economically, ethnically. It just a great melting pot. So to have a great international club, from another great city like Madrid, come in and to bring their Coaches right to our facility, and for our Players to have access to that, was just was a really great experience. To see the Real Madrid Foundation coaches working with our guys, and to see the skyline in New York City behind it, it was very scenic. It was just bringing two great cities together, in my opinion two great clubs together, and the kids really enjoyed the experience.”
Coach Bio, Ray Selvadurai: Ray is going on his 20th year at Manhattan SC, and during his time with the club has been involved in many generation adidas international programs both in New York and abroad. His club, Manhattan SC, has sent many groups over to Europe for team travel programs in the Netherlands and Spain; players from his club have participated in our Select program, and just last year Ray was selected to be the head coach of the Real Madrid Foundation Select program held in Madrid, Spain. Ray has also been able to experience the Real Madrid Foundation coaching methodology at work at his own club here in the U.S., as Manhattan SC hosted Real Madrid Foundation Clinics.
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