New York City Football Club is a professional soccer club based in New York City, New York, that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS), the highest level of American soccer, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference.
New York City began play in 2015, as the twentieth overall expansion team of the league. It is the first franchise to be based in the city, and the second in the New York metropolitan area, after New York Red Bulls, with whom they contest the Hudson River Derby. Since 2015, the club have played at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx.
Jason Kreis was appointed as the club's first coach, remaining for a single year prior to being replaced by Patrick Vieira. Vieira guided New York City to their first MLS Cup playoff appearance the following season, as well as a runner-up berth in the Supporters' Shield in 2017. Vieira's teams also set Major League Soccer records for the largest improvement in wins for a consecutive season.
Based on attendance from the 2016 regular season, New York City's fanbase is one of the largest in the league. In 2016, Forbes estimated the franchise was the third most valuable in MLS, worth over $285 million.
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MLS had an interest in placing a second team in the New York area as early as 2006, when the MetroStars' exclusive territorial rights reverted to the league as a condition of the club's sale to Red Bull GmbH. By the following year, the league had held talks with several groups, including New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his family, about owning the second New York franchise. The Wilpons' interest in MLS reportedly faded following the family's losses in the Madoff investment scandal, but the league continued to look for investors.
In 2010, MLS commissioner Don Garber officially announced the league's intent to make its 20th franchise a second team in the New York area. At that point, the league hoped to have the new team beginning operations by 2013. Garber also held discussions with the owners of the rebooted New York Cosmos, but they balked at the league's expansion fee and single-entity structure and decided not to apply for entry, instead joining the second-tier North American Soccer League.
Garber had previously cultivated an interest in acquiring investment from a major European soccer club to be owners of a future franchise, and in December 2008, he announced a bid for a Miami expansion team led by FC Barcelona. The team was to begin play in 2010 if accepted, however, the bid eventually fell through. Garber also briefly discussed Barcelona investing in a New York franchise, before moving the focus to Miami.
In 2012, Ferran Soriano, Barcelona's vice president at the time of the Miami bid, was appointed Manchester City CEO, prompting Garber to reach out to him about a New York City team. In December 2012, unnamed sources told the media that Manchester City were close to being announced as the new owners of the 20th team of MLS, and the brand name "New York City Football Club" was trademarked, although the club quickly denied the report. However, Garber announced in March 2013 that he was almost ready to unveil the new expansion team.
Manchester City, in association with the New York Yankees baseball team, paid the $100 million expansion fee to join the league. New York City Football Club, LLC was also registered with the New York State Department on May 7, 2013, and on May 21, the team was officially announced as the 20th Major League Soccer franchise.
On May 22, 2013, the club named former United States and Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna as its director of football operations, responsible for coaching staff and player recruitment ahead of the team's inaugural MLS season in 2015. Reyna, a New Jersey native, also played for the nearby New York Red Bulls. He said he had begun identifying candidates to be the club's head coach, but would not name one in 2013. The team announced an English-language radio deal with WFAN on October 3, 2013.
The club made their first recruitment dealing in off-field matters on September 6, 2013, when they hired former Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti to serve as Chief Business Officer, part of a five-year deal with the university. Further hirings were made in mid-November, when three experienced administrators were appointed to Vice President roles.
On December 11, 2013, Jason Kreis was announced as the first head coach of the new franchise, having reached the end of his contract at Real Salt Lake and declined an extension. The move came just four days after he missed out on lifting his second MLS Cup with the Utah team, losing on penalties to Sporting Kansas City. It was revealed in the announcement that his contract, starting on January 1, 2014, would see him begin by traveling to Manchester, England, to familiarize himself with the set-up of the franchise owners. Kreis' official unveiling was made at a press conference on January 10, 2014, where he made it public that his former assistant Miles Joseph had joined him at the club.
On June 2, 2014, the club announced that Spanish World Cup-winning striker David Villa had signed as the first ever player. While the team awaited its MLS start in 2015, Villa was loaned to Melbourne City, a club also owned by City Football Group. He was, however, called back after only four matches. On July 24, 2014, New York City announced at a live press conference in Brooklyn that ex-England international and Chelsea all-time top goal scorer Frank Lampard would be joining them as their second Designated Player. Reyna hailed Lampard as "one of the greatest players in world history", while Lampard stated "it is a privilege to be able to help make history here in New York City". On July 6, 2015, the club signed ex-Italian international Andrea Pirlo from Juventus as their third Designated Player.
In the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, as an expansion team, New York City had second overall pick, choosing Oregon State forward Khiry Shelton as their first pick.
2015â"present: Inaugural season and progress
An up-and-down pre-season saw them dominate their first ever exhibition match, played against Scotland's St Mirren, with Villa scoring the club's first ever goal in a regulated match, while in the Carolina Challenge Cup, they finished second out of four teams after a slow start ruled out their chances of picking up the non-competitive silverware. Their first ever league game was played on March 8 against fellow expansion side Orlando City, with Mix Diskerud scoring their first ever competitive goal in a game which finished 1â"1 in front of a packed Citrus Bowl stadium. A week later in their first home game, Villa and Patrick Mullins scored in their first home win against New England Revolution in front of a crowd of 43,507. The team eventually suffered an eleven-game winless streak which ended on June 16, after defeating the Philadelphia Union 2â"1.
New York City faced the New York Cosmos in the fourth round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and were eliminated on penalties after playing overtime. The team finished 8th in the Eastern Conference, 17th overall. After the season ended, Kreis was relieved from his head coaching duties on November 2. The team's failure to make the playoffs and the team's second lowest points in the league, were the main factors in his release. A week later, Patrick Vieira was announced as the new head coach of the team.
Under Vieira's stewardship, the club had a remarkable season in 2016. The club began pre-season trading for Jack Harrison, the first overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Harrison made an immediate impact and became a core component of the club in his first year with the team, forming a formidable partnership with Villa. Villa also regained his striking form, eventually becoming the recipient of the league's MVP Award after scoring 23 goals. New York City qualified for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, eventually losing to Toronto in a two game series in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Following the season's conclusion, the club parted ways with Lampard, who had become injury prone during his time with the club. 2017 saw a similar season, with the club replacing Lampard with the arrival of Argentine midfielder Maximiliano Moralez as their new, third Designated Player. The club, however, became runners-up for the 2017 Supporters' Shield, finishing the regular season with a record of 16-9-9, as well as a record points total of 57. The club again, however, were once again eliminated from the playoffs in the conference semi-finals, losing to the fifth seeded Columbus Crew by a 4â"3 goal aggregate.
New York City had then utilized the following off-season in order to undertake an aggressive overhaul of the squad, with ten senior players departing, including perceived starters Mikey Lopez, R. J. Allen, FrÃ©dÃ©ric Brillant, and Ethan White. Designated Player Andrea Pirlo also departed, announcing his retirement prior to the club's final playoff game against Columbus Crew. He was then replaced with the addition of Paraguayan international Jesus Medina on New Yearâs Eve, as New York Cityâs third Designated Player. The club further began upon replacing other departing players with the promotions of both Jonathan Lewis, the third-overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, and James Sands, the club's first ever Homegrown Player. Sands also grew up in the nearby city of Rye, New York. Soon after, 2016's Defensive Player of the Year, RÃ³nald Matarrita, extended his contract to remain with the club beyond the 2018 season. The club then made its first acquisition on December 13, with the signing of defender Anton Tinnerholm, who joined from Allsvenskan champions MalmÃ¶. Tinnerholm, a Swedish international, is typically deployed as a right-back. The team then acquired another right-back in the form of Saad Abdul-Salaam in a trade with Sporting Kansas City, trading former second overall pick Khiry Shelton, largely considered a bust, on December 14. The club then rounded out the roster with a trio of internationals, as striker Jo Inge Berget, central defender CÃ©dric Hountondji, and speedster Ismael Tajouri all joined the team. Brad Stuver was also acquired in a trade with Columbus, in order to provide cover as third-choice goalkeeper. Finally, Ghanaian international Ebenezer Ofori joined on loan from Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart, while selecting goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell with the nineteenth overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, as the club began the season in search of a MLS Cup. The team also conducted business through the season, as they signed Sebastien Ibeagha, a defender who last played for affiliate club San Antonio, after he impressed following a trial.
Midway through the season, however, Vieira would depart the club to return to France, in order to coach at Ligue 1 club Nice. His tenure saw the team adopt a free-flowing, attacking, press-based system, which gained both the team and coach several plaudits from experts, players, and fellow coaches. He departed alongside his band of assistant coaches: Christian Lattanzio, Kristian Wilson and Matt Cook. Vieira was then quickly replaced by DomÃ¨nec Torrent, Pep Guardiola's long-term assistant coach. Torrent was successful in his first game, securing a 2â"1 win at home against Toronto FC.
Colors and badge
With the team announced in 2013, almost two years before it was due to play its first competitive game in 2015, the board of the nascent New York club announced their intention to take their time in building the club, and at the team's launch ceremony did not unveil colors or a badge, instead only using a placeholder image of a blue circle with "New York City FC" written within. As interested parties waited for the club to reveal its official colors and badge, a number of graphic designers released their own impressions of possible crests and shirt designs, something the club encouraged by publicizing several attempts on their various social media outlets.
Although club chairman Ferran Soriano emphasized the desire to create a club with its own identity, rather than relying entirely on the brands of club owners Manchester City and the New York Yankees, the online presence that the club kept up across its own website and on various social networking websites maintained a consistent approach of using the sky blue of the Manchester club and the navy blue of the MLB team, along with the white employed by both owner-clubs. With the soccer side running the operations of New York City, however, the vast majority of journalistic reporting and speculation assumed that the club's color-scheme would eventually be revealed as a reflection of, if not a copy of Manchester City's sky blue kits with white trim, with Director of Football Operations Claudio Reyna saying at the press conference announcing his appointment that he was "excited to again wear Cityâs âSky Blueâ as part of the expansion of the MLS".
Having allowed the speculation and amateur designs to build interest in the club for almost nine months, on February 4, 2014 it was announced that the selection of an official club badge was to be forthcoming, with the club planning to release two designs for the crest in two different styles, which would then be put to a public vote to select the chosen design. In the meantime, New York City's official website announced a "Badge of Badges" campaign, inviting all to create their own crests on a hosted badge-designer page, with every entry ultimately to be incorporated into a mosaic of the badge when a final design was selected, the mosaic to be available both online and in physical form at the club's training ground once built.
Although March 3 was originally set as the release date for the two proposed logos, the vote was pushed back as the Yankees vetoed one of the potential crests for infringing their own trademark. The two badge options, both designed by Rafael Esquer following the success of his Made in NY mark, were revealed on March 10. At that time, the club's official color scheme of navy blue, sky blue and orange was also announced. The orange was an homage to the city's Dutch heritage, and is the same shade found in the city's flag. Fans were given three days to vote on the final design, and the winner was announced on March 20.
At an event at Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan on November 13, 2014, thousands of fans and media were on hand to see New York City unveil its inaugural jersey. The away jersey was revealed on November 24, a black shirt with sky blue and orange trim and five reflective black stripes to represent the five boroughs of the city.
For the club's second season, a new away uniform was unveiled, featuring shirt, shorts and socks all of navy blue trimmed in orange. The shirt was dominated by lighter-blue concentric circles radiating out from the logo that "celebrate the energy of New York City". The home uniform remained virtually unchanged, with sky blue socks substituting for the white.
On January 7, 2017, the club unveiled its second-ever home uniform, pairing the sky blue shirt with navy blue shorts. A small New York City flag is on the front of the shirt.
The club's third away uniform was unveiled on February 7, 2018. The kit is primarily gray with sky blue details, "inspired by the concrete jungle that is the Big Apple".
In one of the club's first announcements on October 3, 2013 - before announcing where the team would play and before any players had been signed - New York City signed an agreement with WFAN to broadcast English-language radio commentary to the New York area for club games and also serves as the flagship station of the 'New York City FC Radio Network', powered by CBS. A year later, on December 18, 2014, the club announced that it was following up its radio deal with an agreement with the YES Network to televise all home and away games. On top of the YES broadcasting rights, the deal included free streaming of all games across the internet via the Fox Sports Go website. With club co-owners the New York Yankees also part-owners of YES, the deals were of little surprise, with even Yankees president Randy Levine openly speculating on the possibility within days of the club's unveiling.
On April 21, 2014, the club confirmed that they would play their first season home games at Yankee Stadium, and that plans for a future stadium were in progress.
Before the official team was announced, plans were presented by MLS to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadowsâ"Corona Park in Queens. However, due to opposition to building a stadium on park land as well as objections from the New York Mets, who play nearby, the site lost favor once the new team was announced. The team came up with an alternate proposal to build the stadium in the Bronx adjacent to Yankee Stadium to be completed in 2018 at the earliest. In 2015, New York property lawyer Martin Edelman, a member of Manchester City's board of directors, said that New York City had abandoned plans for the Bronx site. On August 17, 2017, the club's architects attended a site visit of Belmont Park on Long Island held by the Empire State Development Corporation for parties interested in developing land adjacent to the racetrack.
Club president Jon Patricof confirmed in September 2017 that the franchise "(has) multiple sites under active consideration â" some involve public processes and some are private." On September 25, 2017, it was reported that the club would submit a proposal to build a soccer-specific stadium on the 43-acre (17Â ha) site at Belmont Park. On December 19, 2017, the site at Belmont Park was selected by the Empire State Development Corporation for the New York Islanders' new 18,000 seat arena, ending the club's pursuit of a soccer-specific stadium at the site.
On September 23, 2017, New York City played a home match at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, 107 miles (172Â km) from the city, due to a scheduling conflict with a rescheduled Yankees game.
On October 22, 2017, New York City played their final regular season home match at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, in Queens, due to another scheduling conflict with a Yankees American League Championship Series game at Yankee Stadium.
New York City's official supporter group, The Third Rail, began to form after the club's announcement in May 2013, when fans met through social media, and through member drives and viewing parties for 2014 FIFA World Cup matches. It had registered 1,600 members before the team's first season. Although the group operates independently from the club, it was recognized as the official supporter group and has received exclusive access to one section in Yankee Stadium. Then-group president Chance Michaels said the name reflected the group's desire to "power NYCFC" the way the third rail powered the New York City Subway system.
Before the club began play in March 2015, the club's season-ticket membership had already surpassed 14,000, and by April 2015 season-ticket sales had reached 16,000. In October of that year, the club announced that it had sold 20,000 season tickets for the inaugural season.
On April 29, 2017, NYCSC (New York City Supporters Club) was recognized as the club's second official supporters group.
In May 2015, the New York metropolitan area experienced a genuine local derby in MLS league play for the first time, when New York City played their first game against the New York Red Bulls. Although initially regarded as a manufactured rivalry with little of the traditional banter apparent between long-time local rivals, the first meetings between the two clubs displayed an increasing level of animosity between the two sides. The Red Bulls won the first ever encounter between the two, a league game on May 10, 2015, at Red Bull Arena. A series of brawls between supporters of the two teams occurred before and after matches between the two teams. The contest has been dubbed the Hudson River Derby by supporters.
Social media campaigns
In 2015, MLS hosted a contest between New York City and New York Red Bulls ahead of the Hudson River Derby on June 28. The team with the most votes would have the Empire State Building lit up in their favor. New York City, with over 1 million Facebook followers, launched the 'WINNYCFC' campaign on the platform and won the contest. In the 2016 MLS season, the club started the 'We Are One' campaign on social media, followed by the 'Support Your City' campaign during the playoffs later that year.
Players and staff
- As of June 27, 2018
Out on loan
Current technical staff
Affiliates and club academy
The USL's Wilmington Hammerheads were New York City's first affiliate club, announced on January 16, 2015. One year later, both clubs announced a long-term extension to that original agreement. On April 21, 2016, the club also announced that the Long Island Rough Riders would be their official Premier Development League partner beginning with the 2016 season. After the Wilmington Hammerheads dropped to an amateur league following the 2016 season, New York City further announced another affiliation agreement, partnering with San Antonio on February 9, 2017. Sporting Director Claudio Reyna called the agreement "an important affiliation for NYCFC with an ambitious, forward-thinking club like San Antonio, which shares our drive to grow the game within their own passionate soccer community."
New York City also began building its youth development program in April 2014 by partnering with eight local youth soccer clubs. This foresaw the club formally announcing the creation of an academy in February 2015, beginning with a single team at U-13 and U-14 level. The academy saw its first success in 2017, with the U-16 team winning the Generation Adidas Cup, becoming the first major silverware earned by New York City in any capacity.
- As of June 13, 2018
List of the last three seasons completed by New York City. For the full season-by-season history and other data, see List of New York City FC records and statistics.
- Includes MLS regular Season, MLS Playoffs, CONCACAF Champions League, and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
- As of June 11, 2018
- As of June 9, 2018
- Soccer in New York City
- Expansion of Major League Soccer
- Official website