When Gabe Segal was asked to describe his emotions after making his New York City debut, the smile said it all.
Stepping out for the City Boys for the first time in Saturday’s trip to New England Revolution, the forward was ready to shine, and produced an impressive display to help the Boys in Blue to a valuable point at Gillette Stadium.
A January recruit off waivers, the 21-year-old has had to be patient, waiting for his chance to be called upon. Rewarded with his first start in Foxborough, he took his opportunity, producing an impressive individual display which earned deserved acclaim from Head Coach Nick Cushing and his peers.
Reflecting on his achievement, Segal could not hide his delight, and the youngster asserts he is loving life at his new Club, having learned so much already in his first few months in New York.
“I’m very excited,” he told NYCFC.com. “It was definitely a great day to get my debut.
“I was happy with how it went, and definitely happy with the point on the road for the team. It was definitely a good day overall.
“I was super excited to get the call. You get the normal nerves going through and everything, but overall I wasn’t as nervous as I expected.
“My mindset coming into the game was just to make the most of it – try to go out there and be loose, have fun, and give a good performance. Once I got out there, I was just like: ‘It’s another game, playing the sport I’ve played my entire life!’
“There were definitely a lot of good emotions, and a lot of reflection about my whole career to this point.
“I’ve been patient, and I think that was my mindset coming into this Club. I knew there were a lot of good players here, and that I would have to wait for my opportunity.
“Throughout preseason, and the first few matches, and training weeks, that was my mindset: just do what I can, control what I can control in the chances that I have.
“Then, I got my chance, and I tried to make the most of it. I think I did a good job, and the coaches were happy.”
Speaking after the match, Cushing was full of praise for Segal’s contribution, describing the forward’s performance as ‘exceptional.’
Though humble, Segal was delighted to have received such recognition, adding that he is thriving under the Head Coach’s leadership, and thoroughly enjoying City’s playing style.
“I was happy when I came here,” the 21-year-old continued. “The style we play definitely suits my skillset in a lot of ways.
“It’s definitely been a good transition for me to come into this environment, and then pick up on all the amazing coaching points they have.
“Nick is a great coach, and I’ve really enjoyed my time with him so far. He has been really positive with me in my whole time here, and I think that’s been amazing for me to have a coach that really believes in me.
“I’ve just tried to take on all the advice they’ve told me throughout my time here, in training and everything. There’s good dialogue between the coaches and the players.
“We play a really nice style of soccer, so already in my time here I’ve learned a ton, and I’m looking to keep learning, and having that experience.”
Saturday’s trip to Massachusetts saw City come from behind to salvage a notable draw at the home of the Eastern Conference leaders, as Talles Magno struck with 10 minutes to go to cancel out Carles Gil’s opener.
Segal says the fightback spoke volumes for the character and team spirit of the squad, as well as the strength in depth throughout.
With the Boys in Blue back on home soil this weekend, the youngster declared he is relishing the chance to step out in front of the NYCFC faithful for the first time, with the Boys in Blue set on securing three home wins from three to kickstart the campaign.
“It shows a lot,” he stated, on the New England comeback. “It shows resilience, and we have a lot of quality in the team – not just the players who started the game, but a lot of the guys coming off the bench, and making an impact.
“When you play the leaders of the Conference, a point is definitely good away from home. The team showed a lot of fight to get back into the game. I think a lot of different players had good performances to allow us to get that point.
“Now we shift to some home games. It would be awesome to perform in front of the fans. The focus is on getting wins, and building from this game, and the start of the season.”
NYCFC are back on home soil next weekend for the first of three successive home games.
The Boys in Blue welcome Atlanta United to Yankee Stadium on Saturday, April 8 in a 7:30pm ET kick-off.
Tickets for the game are now available. Don't miss your chance to cheer on the City Boys!
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