Mikey Lopez has spoken of his gratitude to the fans for helping him through a dark time in his young career.
The midfielder’s ankle surgery meant that he was recovering alone in New York while his teammates jetted off to Florida, Ecuador and Tucson for preseason.
It was a frustrating period for the Texan but the countless messages of goodwill from the NYCFC faithful were crucial in keeping his spirits up and enabling him to recover quicker than was expected.
Now Lopez is back taking a full part in training with colleagues new and old, he’s ready to stake a claim for minutes in the games which are coming up thick and fast, starting with the trip to DC United.
Mikey told NYCFC.com: “I’m so thankful to everyone for all of the messages they sent me, it really helped during that downtime so I’m so grateful and blessed that everyone cared about me and sent me these positive messages.
“It feels really good to be back with the team and be training full-time – it’s a good feeling getting back maybe earlier than expected.
“It was very frustrating to miss out on preseason – that’s the time where you get accustomed to everyone’s’ games and learn more about the way we want to play.
“As well, it’s just being around the team all the time helps because it creates that camaraderie that every team wants and needs. It was kind of frustrating being back here by myself but at the same time I’m really thankful that I’m back here training, being with the team again.”
Lopez has watched as NYCFC were busy in the offseason, bringing in 12 new players to the roster.
He knows that competition for places will be fiercer than ever before but he’s up for the fight and he’s been encouraged by the words of motivation from the coaching staff.
“It’s really good – we are a lot stronger than last year, the new guys have definitely helped us and it’s going to be an exciting season.
“I think we’ve been playing really well – it’s been unfortunate that we maybe didn’t get the points that we wanted in a couple of matches but we’ve been playing well and controlling the games.
“The coaches told me just to get back in and work hard each and every day. To learn as much as I can and whatever position they want me to play in, I’ve just got to learn and keep learning.”