U18 Head Coach


 


Paul O'Donnell has been a Red Bulls Academy Coach since 2002.  During that time, O’Donnell has coached current Red Bulls first team players: Juan Agudelo, Matt Kassel and Sacir Hot.

In 2004, O’Donnell took over the newly created U16 Academy team that included future professional players: Gabe Ferrari (Sampdoria, Perugia, Foggia, Chicago Fire), Vincenzo Bernardo (Napoli, FC Hochst, Harrisburg City Islanders) and Matt Bouraee (Puerto Rico Islanders). That team played a year up and still advanced to the Under 16 North American Finals by finishing in 2nd place in the Super Y League Mid-Atlantic Division. The team played in the Under 16 age bracket again in 2005 and this squad included current Red Bulls midfielder Matt Kassel who was instrumental in leading the U16s to the Super-Y League North American Championship. This was the first National or North American Championship for the organization. The U16s captured the championship in dramatic fashion as they defeated Ruckus Sporting Santa Clara in the final with a goal in the last minute of extra-time to seal the victory.

During the 2006 campaign, O’Donnell led the team to a New Jersey State Championship. This was the first Red Bulls Academy team to win a State Championship as they defeated local rival Ironbound SC 3-1 in the U17 State Cup Final. The 2007 season saw O’Donnell lead the U18s to the Region I Premier League title and U18 New Jersey State Cup to become the only Academy team in the history of the organization to capture back to back New Jersey State Cup titles. Also, this same year O’Donnell guided the U18 Academy team to the Semi-Finals of the Super 20 North American Championship.

In 2008, O’Donnell guided the Red Bulls to second place in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the United States Development Academy, behind eventual national champion Baltimore Bays. Two players from the U18s were selected to the inaugural United States Development Academy Starting Eleven: Matt Kassel and Cesar Blacido. The 2009 season saw the U18s fail to qualify for the United States Development Academy play-offs. However, two players from this team would go on to sign professional contracts with the New York Red Bulls first team: Sacir Hot and Giorgi Chirgadze.

In 2010, O’Donnell led the Red Bulls U18’s to finish as one of the top 10 teams in the US Development Academy. The U18’s advanced to the USDA play-offs where they narrowly missed out on advancing to the United States Development Academy Finals week when they were beaten on the last day of group play by Derby County Wolves. This squad featured Juan Agudelo (signed by the New York Red Bulls first team) who made 10 appearances with the U18s during this season and led the team in assists.

Last season, O'Donnell guided the U18s to the 2011 United States Development Academy Finals week where they finished in 5th place. In the USDA play-offs, the Red Bulls U18s convincingly won their group with wins over Cal Odyssey (4-1), Chicago Sockers (4-1) and MLS Academy rival Real Salt Lake (3-0). The U18 team also completed the 2010-2011 season by remaining unbeaten at home for the 2nd consecutive season. The home unbeaten streak stretches back to May 5th, 2009. In addition, O’Donnell has overseen a U18 team that has a current 10 match unbeaten streak (7-0-3) over MLS Academies.

Aside from his duties with the Red Bulls, O'Donnell was an assistant coach at Iona College from 2003-05. He joined Iona after spending eight years as the Head Coach at Kinnelon High School in New Jersey. O'Donnell, who possesses a USSF "A" License, is a 1995 graduate of Columbia University, where he was a four-year varsity letterman and three-time All Ivy selection for the Lions. After graduating from Columbia University, O'Donnell spent a brief stint in his native Scotland with Greenock Morton FC of the Scottish First Division and also played for the North Jersey Imperials of the United Soccer League for five seasons where he was a teammate of current Red Bulls Academy staff, Jeff Zaun and Rob Elliot.

O’Donnell, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, grew up locally in Kearny where he earned High School All-American and New Jersey Athlete Magazine Player of the Year in 1990. O’Donnell was also inducted into the Kearny High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. O’Donnell currently resides in Rockaway, NJ with his wife Megan and three daughters: Madeleine, Fiona and Maisie.

 

 


 
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