Cedar Stars Academy is one of the best known names in soccer not only in the state of New Jersey, but across the country. The club, founded in 2011, quickly burst onto the scene with some of the strongest teams in the state, having success against perennial powers. A large part of the club's early success was the Gray Twins.
Tayvon and Kayvon started their youth careers with SDFC Gunners being coached by now Philadelphia Union Academy Coach Paul Nash. With Nash, the boys received valuable lessons on the game at a young age accelerating their development. In 2012, the boys went on a week of trials with Fulham and Tottenham, and had the chance to experience international soccer at 9 years old. “The ability of Kayvon and Tayvon was always clear, while their potential was not only evident through their athleticism, personality and love of the game, but the commitment from their father Kevin Gray. Not only traveling from the Bronx 4x a week, but developing the boys with extra training and positive emotional support. Tayvon, a leader with his positivity, energy and communication, has continued to thrive while earning a professional contract at NYCFC. He still has much potential to develop and I believe is capable of thriving at the highest level of the game. Kayvon has fought through some health issues but we are all delighted to see him back on the field and chasing his dreams.” — Paul Nash The boys then joined Cedar Stars Academy Bergen and continued to make a name for themselves around the tri-state area. Any time the team was at an EDP Tournament, there was talk of Tayvon and Kayvon, and attendees looking to watch the boys play at a young age. The boys enjoyed much success in both EDP Leagues and Tournaments before joining the US Soccer Development Academy with Cedar Stars Academy Bergen.
“We are proud to have played a part in Tayvon’s development. Our goal as a club is to produce professional players and Tayvon is an example of this. From an early age, I saw he was not only just an excellent player but he had the mentality and drive to be the best. This psychological aspect has undoubtedly helped him reach the level he is at now. I wish him the best for the future and when given the opportunity, I am sure he will flourish.” — Anthony Nixon, Cedar Stars Bergen Academy Director. In 2015, both boys were called up to the U15 National Team and were now making a name for themselves on the national stage. A few years later, both boys then joined the New York City FC Academy, widely known to be one of the best academies in the country. With NYCFC, the boys were part of the U-19 team who became the first Club to win back-to-back U-19 U.S. Development Academy National Championships. Tayvon continued to shine on the international stage, and started two matches for the United States U-17 National Team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, and was one of the five Academy players to join NYCFC senior team for their 2019 preseason. Then on November 26, 2019, at just 17 years old, Tayvon became the first Bronx native and 4th player in club history to sign a homegrown contract with NYCFC. Able to play as a right back, center back, or holding midfielder, his versatility makes him a valuable member of the squad. Tayvon was on the clubs 25 man roster for the MLS Is Back Tournament that was recently held in Orlando FL, and is eagerly awaiting his first team debut.