After six very special years, Manchester City will bid farewell to Nick Cushing on Sunday – and New York City FC will prepare to say hello.
The 35-year-old will follow Patrick Vieira and Pep Guardiola’s former assistant, Domenec Torrent, and become the latest member of the City Football Group’s coaching staff to make the move across the pond and further their coaching career in New York.
With him, he takes impressive credentials. An outrageous 75 per cent win rate from his 192 games is one, as well as no fewer than six trophies and a Women’s Super League Manager of the Year award.
But it’s more than just success on the pitch that prompted NYCFC to swoop for him, making Cushing assistant to new head coach Ronny Deila ahead of the new Major League Soccer season .
“Nick was an obvious choice,” NYCFC’s sporting director, David Lee, tells Goal.
“That’s in terms of what he’s done at Manchester City with the women’s team over the last six years, his development of players, winning titles, and he’s obviously steeped in how we work, the methodology that we have at City and how we want to play.
“The ability to be able to bring that into work and [have him] work alongside Ronny was a really big asset for us and we’re delighted that he wanted to [come] and he saw this as the next step in his journey as a coach as well.”
The development of players is one of Cushing’s stand-out attributes, and something he prides himself on above points on the board and trophies in the cabinet.
“People think that we’ve won a lot of trophies, which we have, but we’ve had so many England senior debuts,” the 35-year-old told Goal earlier this month.
“The likes of Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen, Georgia Stanway winning PFA Player of the Year as well while we’re here.
“We’ve achieved a lot, but we have to challenge everybody at the club.”
Keira Walsh has been one of his biggest success stories, a young Man City fan now starring week in, week out for her childhood club, as well as for England.
Abbie McManus, now of Manchester United, is another who was developed into a senior international by Cushing, while current City No.1 Ellie Roebuck, who is still just 20 years old , could be England’s first choice goalkeeper at this summer’s Olympics.
Nikita Parris is another name worth mentioning. Like Bronze, the former Everton forward was brought in by the Chester-born coach and improved massively under his charge, before departing for Lyon.
“Before I joined [the club], when I was thinking about it, I spoke to past and present players and they all spoke really highly of him and it definitely edged my decision,” Laura Coombs, who joined Man City last summer, told Goal of Cushing earlier this season.
“At the end of the day, most players just want to improve or better themselves and everyone said, whether they’re here now or they’ve left, they left a better player than they were when they came here.”
It’s an aspect of Cushing’s armoury that particularly appealed to NYCFC, who place huge emphasis on the development of young players.
Speaking to Lee, it’s something that is mentioned time and time again, while the club’s efforts to grow the game of soccer around the city further underline its importance to the them .
When you align the key values of the club and the Man City boss, it’s a match made in heaven.
Few are more knowledgeable about the way a club in the CFG works than Cushing too, which is another big factor in this move.
Significantly, Deila is the first head coach NYCFC have appointed since Jason Kreis, their first ever coach, who doesn’t already come from a club in the group.
“It was really important that we tried to bring somebody in alongside [Ronny] who knew City, how we coach, how we develop players and the methodology we have,” Lee explains.
“Ronny obviously plays a very, very similar style of football and has done over the last few years at his clubs, but this was just an opportunity to supplement that with really City-specific knowledge about the methodology and how we want to play.
“I think he’ll be a great fit alongside Ronny and with the other coaching staff we have.
“We’re trying to build a strong, cohesive staff with different skill sets and different knowledge bases and I think his knowledge and what he’ll be able to bring to NYCFC will be a really big advantage for us.”
What is most fitting in this move is that Cushing, a manager so well renowned for his focus on improving young players, places similar emphasis on his own development.
“My challenge now is to go and be a better coach, support Ronny, to go and push New York to be a successful team,” he said.
“Hopefully, I’ll come back with one of the teams, whether it’s the women’s team or the men’s team or another team in the [City Football] Group, as a head coach in the future.
“But as a better coach.”
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