Lucey Named Director of Coaching
In the 1970s, the Dutch introduced the world to Total Football and with it, the idea that an entire nation or club could be trained to implement one vision of the game. These days, clubs all over the world have emulated this model, from the famed Barcelona program to recent developments in the United States youth system. While there is no reason to compare models just yet, the appointment of Gerry Lucey as Director of Coaching for the Junior Rough Riders will give a very clear vision for the club from top to bottom. The Riders’ PDL coach has been very clear on his philosophy for Long Island players and clearly possesses the necessary passion for development that even the youngest Rough Rider will benefit from.
“There is a very clear pathway that the owners have envisioned and it is part of my responsibility to ensure that we develop talented players on Long Island who aspire to either play professionally, in college, high school or at the highest travel level to reach their potential,” said Lucey, who returned to Long Island this past winter. “With the Rough Riders Men’s and Women’s team, we have a tiered system that allows players to stay within the franchise throughout their careers, either full-time or part-time. I’m excited to begin working within this framework and building the coaching staff that can help us accomplish our goals.”
In addition to his PDL semi-pro team coaching duties, Lucey will oversee the types of programs offered to the Junior Rough Riders, as well as facilitating coaching development for all its staff. As a USSF A License coach himself, the Dublin native knows that coaching development is much more than attending a course and receiving a diploma: experience with mentors on a daily basis builds the ability of any coach.
“Having the Rough Riders Head Coach oversee the youth structure allows for a true hands-on approach. My insight from the Junior Rough Riders to the Rough Riders 1st Team is ideal to identify up and coming players,” said the Rough Riders Head Coach, finishing 6-5-3 in the PDL season. “Our affiliation with New York City FC has now added a bridge to a full-time professional MLS club, an established organization. The Rough Riders appealed to me mainly because their main objective is youth development. Our goal over the coming days, weeks, months and years is to implement a curriculum and structure that helps develop players on Long Island and puts them in a position to flourish.”
“There is a very clear pathway that the owners have envisioned and it is part of my responsibility to ensure that we develop talented players on Long Island who aspire to either play professionally, in college, high school or at the highest travel level to reach their potential.”
While still in its infancy, the relationship with professional franchises beyond the PDL or UWS will facilitate the establishment of a vision for Rough Riders of all ages. The concept of a “top-to-bottom” model is as simple as choosing a development philosophy and one that the Rough Riders’ management felt necessary to create.
“This is nothing new, as this is how most European and South American clubs have been operating for generations,” added General Manager, Flavio Ferri. “It is important to have our PDL and UWS coaches involved with the youth because it helps provide a unified club philosophy which lends itself to proper player development. The goal is for players to follow a training methodology and competition model that propels them through each phase of development seamlessly, ultimately leading to the club’s first team.”
While this all sounds like a tremendous amount of work, Coach Lucey has been in the business long enough to see the positive in such a great challenge. His positivity seems to have had an immediate impact around the club, a characteristic that he has developed over decades of NCAA and professional soccer coaching. He is still learning about the club he called home as a player but hopes to instill his vision quickly with these structural changes.
“The Rough Riders run a huge variety of programs that cater to every need and it is interesting to witness how detailed and in depth the soccer business has evolved. The main changes I’ve witnessed is how professional the organization has become in dealing with youth soccer and how committed they are to pave the way towards a brighter and more unified path.”
For more information about Junior Rough Riders programs, as well as the senior teams, please visit liroughriders.com.