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A Letter To NYCFC Head Coach Nick Cushing: I’m Rooting For You

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Apr 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York City head coach Nick Cushing against the New England Revolution during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“Hey Coach, thanks as always for the time.” This is 9 times out of 10 how I lead when I chat with you during press conferences, either in person or via Zoom. I’ve been covering the team since your predecessor Ronny Delia lead the club to it’s first MLS title back in 2021, my first year. When he departed last year with Taty Castellanos leaving soon after, you were put into a brutal position. Find a way to suddenly manage this team back into the playoffs without your best goal scorer. And sir, you did as the team went from 51 points in 2021 and 4th in the East to 55 points and 3rd.

This year, it changed again. Gone were the veteran presences that made the team the special group you’d known for years. Sean Johnson, Maxi Morales, Alex Callens, Heber, Anton Tinnerholm. Players that are etched into the memory of that 2021 run and in came a brand new squad of younger players.

What a difference a year makes.

In the past year, and especially this year I’ve gotten to know you well. Beyond the coach, to the person. You live less than 10 minutes from where I grew up and your kids go to the same school my mother did when she was their age. Little things like that I’ve been lucky enough to know. And this human side is why I’m rooting for you during this rough run.

I can’t imagine what you’re feeling these days. Stress, anxiety, worry, maybe even self doubt. All the things that make a human a human. Even if you don’t read what the fans are writing, you know. How could you not? I’ve been reading the comments between Reddit, YouTube and the rest and for what it’s worth, most of the frustration is not directed towards you, it goes higher up the chain as little was done during the primary transfer window to replace these veterans and add legit scoring threats. Absolutely yes, players like Richy Ledezma and Mitja Ilenic add value to the squad, but need time to develop. That’s great for later, but what about now the fans keep saying. And frankly, I can’t disagree with them. They do deserve a legit scoring threat and are losing patience the team’s offensive struggles continue. But again, deep down many of them know you’re not to blame here, with some coming to your defense.

The wisdom of Andy Bernard. When he wasn’t talking about Cornell.


To a degree, I think fans got spoiled by Taty, I know I did. First game I ever covered was the 2021 home opener. Taty scored 1, Jesus Medina scored 2 and the team crushed Cincinnati 5-0. Fans took that for granted on route to that title in 2021. But players move on as at times I believe they like me forget that MLS is not Premier League, it’s Triple-A soccer on a world wide stage. It’s a platform to showcase your skills for Europe while at the same time, make a decent living. So it becomes a balancing act, how do you bring in a quality scoring threat for a Triple-A team? Frankly, it’s outside my pay grade to proper answer that question.

But back to my point as I begin to wrap this up. I found you more personable than Ronny. Ronny was a bit more reserved, you’re more outgoing and I connected well to that. These days suck for you in ways I can barely scratch the surface at understanding. For the fans, even less I think. But just know as you’re going through it, I’m pulling for you and hope you’re here for a while. Hang in.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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