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Watching David Villa, Major League Soccer’s MVP, at practice

New York City FC captain David Villa with

New York City FC captain David Villa with Kidsday reporters from Lakeville Elementary School in Great Neck, Tulio Serpas, left, Joyce Lee, Mirabella Joa, and Matthew Garzon, at SUNY Purchase. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We arrived at SUNY Purchase College in Westchester County on April 5 to interview Major League Soccer’s most valuable player, David Villa, the New York City FC striker and captain. As we were waiting for the players to arrive at their training field, we were all overly excited. The team came out of the vans and all the players said hello to us as they passed by. We were given press passes that allowed us to enter the field and watch the practice along with other members of the press.

We watched the players stretch their legs in preparation to practice. They also did a few drills. In one drill, some players wore a pinny (practice jersey) and others didn’t. The players without pinnies had the ball and passed it and did a few tricks so that the pinny players wouldn’t get it. This is useful in games because you wouldn’t want to give possession of the ball to the other team.

Another drill that they did was to pass the ball a bit and then kick a through ball (one that is kicked in front of the player so the player will run to it) to the person who is running near the touchline. He can cross it into the middle while one man is in the middle receiving the ball and shooting on the goalkeeper. In that drill, players can do cool finishes such as the rabona, bicycle kick and more.

The last part of practice was a simple scrimmage, but the coach added rules, like five passes before you can shoot, or only three touches with the ball.

As they finished up their practice we finally got to meet Villa, the MVP last season of MLS. We asked him a few questions before he had to run off for another meeting. He was very nice to take his time to answer our questions.

We can’t wait to see the team play and they have a very special game May 7 at Yankee Stadium. They are playing Atlanta United at 4 p.m. Among some of the special events will be a player-themed growth chart giveaway for first 5,000 fans, and face and hair painting for kids. For more information visit:

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