While most kids at 17 are preparing for college or taking the SATs, Bronx resident Tayvon Gray is set to make his professional soccer debut next year.
Gray, who resides in Gun Hill, will join the NYCFC soccer team Saturday, January 11, 2020 making him the team’s first-ever Bronxite.
The youngster, who has been in the spotlight since joining the New York City Football Club in 2017 representing their Under-17 team, is eager to show he can make a difference and help the team succeed.
“Since I’ve come into the academy, my goal was to one day make it to the first team,” Gray said in a press release. “I’ve been able to train and go on preseason with them before, but to now sign a professional contract is an amazing feeling. I’m ready to work as hard as I can to help this team achieve what we all want, to win the league.”
Gray told the Bronx Times soccer runs in his blood, as his father Kevin Gray played professionally in England.
From a young age there was only one thing he loved, soccer.
“I grew up playing soccer my whole life,” he said.
He attended high school in Hackensack, NJ and played for a club there, the Cedar Stars. With tutelage from his father, his passion for the sport, practice and training, he became a star on the pitch.
Every time he steps on the field he is filled with confidence. He is never scared of bigger players or competition.
Gray noted that soccer helped him stay away from the violence and crime in Gun Hill.
“It (soccer) definitely humbled me,” he explained. “I don’t come from so much. Hopefully, I can have a lot in the future.”
Gray has been a centerpiece of the NYCFC Academy since joining the club in 2017 with the U-17s.
In 2019, he anchored the backline on the U-19 team who became the first club to win back-to-back U-19 U.S. Development Academy National Championships.
Gray was one of five academy players to join the club’s 2019 preseason in Abu Dhabi and continued to train with the first team regularly throughout the season.
Recently, he started two matches for the United States U-17 National Team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Now, as a member of the team it’s like everything in his life that he’s worked hard for has come to to fruition. He looks forward to the season and feels he has a bright future.
“I’ve been playing against older guys since I was a young age,” he said. “I think I can handle the pressure pretty well. I feel awesome to be on the team and I can’t wait to get the season started.”