Mehdi Ballouchy: “This is the perfect environment to grow as a coach.” (Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports)
Former New York City FC player Mehdi Ballouchy is back.
The one-time Red Bulls midfielder has rejoined the Major League Soccer club as a coach with NYCFC Academy’s Under-15 team.
Ballouchy had retired after the 2016 season. He most recently coached at World Class FC.
“This is the perfect environment to grow as a coach,” he said. “We have a great staff in the Academy and I’m looking forward to working with everybody and also learning from them. I’m working on my craft and I look forward to working on it and learning not only from the Academy coaches, but also the first team coaches as well.
“Being involved with the club as a player, and having seen what the Academy has become, and the growth it has made, it was a great project and it’s something I’ve always wanted to be involved with.”
Ballouchy, 34, played 11 seasons for six clubs in MLS, including the San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps and Real Salt Lake besides the two local sides.
NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna felt Ballouchy would be a perfect addition to City’s Academy staff.
“It’s really nice to see him transition to a teacher in such a short time,” he said. “He wants to teach everything to these kids, and it’s not just technical and tactical concepts that players need to learn, but it’s being a professional. How do you behave, take care of yourself?
“Mehdi was a great professional during his two years at the club. Having him join us from World Class is great. It shows the relationship; we were able to track Mehdi as he was developing his coaching ambitions.”
Ballouchy scored three goals in 24 appearances over his two seasons with NYCFC.
In his MLS career, the Moroccan-born Ballouchy scored 16 goals and assisted on 26 others in 160 starts over 217 games.