By Michael Lewis

Front Row Soccer Editor

New York City FC announced Monday that it will launch a Girls Soccer Academy this spring.

Former Cosmos and Columbia University midfielder Kazbek Tambi will head up the new venture as director of coaching, which will house four age groups:

Under-14, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19

The academy will be run in conjunction with City youth affiliate World Class FC and will join the U.S Soccer Development Academy.

Teams will play out of World Class FC’s Orangeburg, N.Y. location, located adjacent to the Major League Soccer team’s City Football Academy, which is under construction.

“City Football Group has demonstrated its dedication to the women’s game with the launch of Manchester City women in 2014 and Melbourne City women in 2016,” NYC FC president Jon Patricof said in a statement. “Both teams have since gone on to win their league titles, and we are so happy to build on that success with the launch our own girls academy program.”

Blues sporting director Claudio Reyna echoed Patricof’s sentiments.

“We’re delighted to be launching this academy which will provide high quality soccer coaching, and a genuine pathway to U.S Youth National teams and top collegiate programs,” he said in a statement.

“This is a significant moment in the history of our club as NYC FC makes a commitment to girls soccer and announce an academy which we believe will contribute to the bright future of the women’s game in the tri-state area. With more than 1.5 million girls playing soccer in the U.S., including more than 200,000 in New York, there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the game.”

The 55-year-old Tambi guided the U.S. U-17 girls national team to the final of the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup. He served as Seton Hall University women’s head coach from 2007-2013 after working as a men’s assistant from 1998-2006. Tambi has been with World Class FC for the past seven years.

He played with the Cosmos from 1983-85 before moving to the Minnesota Strikers for the 1985-86 Major Indoor Soccer League season. He also played with the New York Express in its lone MISL campaign in 1986-87 before joining the New Jersey Eagles of the American Soccer League in 1988.