Brian Walsh is living the dream after betting on himself. Photo Credit: Brian Walsh

Most people can’t make a life-altering decision as adults, Brian Walsh made his as a teenager and is now living out his dream in New York. Brian moved from Dublin, Ireland to New York in 2002 on a soccer scholarship after playing schoolboys (youth) soccer and a year at the senior level for Usher Celtic. He now holds the title of Director of Youth Programs at New York City FC after graduating from Mercy College (NY) with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Master of Business Administration Degree.

From Palmerstown, a suburb of Dublin, where he grew up playing and falling in love with the beautiful game to New York is quite the change in scenery and being so far away from everything you grew up knowing can be difficult, but Brian hit the ground running and settled in quickly to the change in lifestyles.

“I loved every minute of it,” he said, “from the football to the academics. I was too busy to even think about being homesick. Mercy College has a great support system for students and that enabled me to progress not only on the pitch but also in the classroom. We were able to clinch the conference title in 2005 and I managed to win the Wall Street Journal Student of the Year Award in my senior year.”

Brian with Spanish Legend Raul during his time at New York Cosmos. Photo Credit: Brian Walsh

Not wasting any time Brian started coaching youth football before moving over to the coaching staff at St. John’s University (NY) under the legendary collegiate coach, Dave Masur. From there he built his resume before getting asked to help create the Youth Programs at New York Cosmos. While not an MLS side the name was synonymous with Soccer this side of the Atlantic with its original incarnation from 1970 to 1985 hosting such players as Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto. While there Brian also helped build the Academy and B team as the club looked to relaunch the brand name of the Cosmos.

“My time at the NY Cosmos was truly incredible,” he said. “I worked with some amazing soccer people and they allowed me to help shape the Club from the grassroots all the way up to the First Team. While there, I was part of the NY Cosmos Front Office that won three NASL Soccer Bowl Championships and on the coaching staff that won the National Championship with the B Team.”

Brian and the New York Cosmo B Team after winning National Championship. Photo Credit: Brian Walsh

“From there Claudio Reyna, who was the Sporting Director at the time, brought me to NYCFC to build the Youth Programs Department,” Brian told Vendetta Media. The rest, as they say, is history for the kid who grew up just wanting to play on the streets of Palmerstown. And I can totally relate. Summer was always the hotbed of street action as you made goalposts out of jumpers and stopped for oncoming cars. You would play until the streetlights came on and sometimes even longer depending on just how competitive the game had got.

Brian meets soccer legend Pelé. Photo Credit: Brian Walsh

The current situation in the world has put the beautiful game on pause with most leagues having just resumed or about to in the upcoming weeks. For Brian, it meant having to change plans for the summer. Instead of hosting actual summer camps as originally planned, New York City FC will now host Virtual camps while they wait on official guidelines regarding when physical summer camps can reopen. It’s just one of the innovative ways teams are looking at to keep the kids on track and provide some much-needed fun.

“[It] has definitely helped and allowed us to adapt while still engaging with players,” he told us and had mentioned to Glenn Crooks of ‘The Coaching Academy’ on Sirius XM recently that the camps came from an idea that kids should be still able to have fun without having “anxiety about giving their teammate a high five or sitting next to your teammate or coach at lunch.” Expanding on this he told us “we wanted to create a unique experience for players that attend our Virtual Camps. We have built an intuitive platform and players receive their own personal dashboards to compete with their classmates throughout each week of camp.”

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As for his own future, what’s next for Brian personally? Could management be the next step? “I don’t think managing a team is in my cards,” he said. “I really like the business side of the game and see myself progressing in that world. Working with NYCFC and being part of City Football Group (CFG) is an honor and I really appreciate the opportunity. I’m part of the Global Football Education Department within CFG and it is exciting to collaborate with my colleagues at Manchester City, Melbourne City, and the other Clubs within the Group.”