NEW YORK, N.Y., December 13, 2021– New York City FC (NYCFC) today announced that Forward Heber and Midfielders Nicolás Acevedo and Gedion Zelalem have all agreed to new contracts with the Club. The trio will remain in New York City for the 2022 season.
All three players have been a key part of the squad which has seen the Boys in Blue lift the MLS Cup for the first time in our history.
Héber has signed a new contract with the Club through December 2023 with an option for an additional 12 months. The Colorado do Oeste native arrived in New York ahead of the 2019 season and quickly made his mark leading the team in scoring with 15 goals and adding four assists in 22 matches. His lightning start earned him the 2019 Newcomer of the Year and Goal of the Year award on behalf of the Club.
In his second season, Héber sustained an ACL injury which kept him out for almost a year, before returning to the pitch against FC Dallas in September. Since his return, the Brazilian has played eight games tallying 153 minutes including a start in the Audi 2021 MLS Playoffs Eastern Conference Final against Philadelphia Union. Not only a force to be reckoned with on offense, Héber’s presence is also felt within the locker room and Club as a popular member of the First Team.
Héber said, “I’m so happy to re-sign with New York City FC and continue playing with this incredible group of players. The Club has been with me every step of the way when I got injured last season. They always believed in me, and it gave me the confidence to come back stronger than ever. I would also like to thank our unbelievable fans for always making me happy and making New York City feel like home. I love this team, it feels like a family, and I couldn’t be happier to play for such a great city. Though this season has just ended in the most amazing way possible, I’m already looking forward to the start of next season and making a big impact on the team as we compete to retain the Cup.’’
Nicolás Acevedo has signed a contract extension until December 2025 with an option to extend until December 2026. Since signing in March 2020, Nicolás has become an important member of the squad, playing 1,350 minutes in 24 matches with 15 starts and logging an 83.4% pass completion rate.
Nicolás said, “Ever since I arrived, this Club has felt like home. We have such a great bond amongst the players, coaches and staff - it’s really like one big family. The Club and this city are very special to me. Every time I put on this jersey it motivates me to give my all on the pitch. I’m so proud to have played a part in winning the Cup and this Club is always helping me grow as a player and a person. I’m so excited to resign and will be even stronger next season.’’
Gedion Zelalem has signed a new one-year contract through December 2022 with option years in 2023 and 2024. Entering his third season with the Club in 2022, Zelalem has battled through injury during his time in blue. Encouraged by his rehab, the midfielder has been fully fit and training for a number of months which has saw him make seven appearances this season, including one start on Decision Day against the Philadelphia Union.
Gedion said, “The Club has always believed in me and my abilities. The last couple years have been difficult for me with injury - but I now feel fit and strong and am ready to show our fans what I am capable of - but more importantly - to help this team win as we go again for MLS Cup!”
NYCFC Sporting Director David Lee said, “After an unforgettable season, we’re extremely pleased to bring back three key pieces of this team. We know that the strength and competitiveness of our roster was a key ingredient in winning our first MLS Cup and so we are delighted that all three players have signed contract extensions.
“There are no words to describe Héber’s impact on-and-off the field. He has been a leader and an important member of our team, and we are excited to see him back to full strength in 2022 and beyond. We know at his best he is one of the most dangerous forwards in the league and are looking forward to seeing him back scoring goals in front of our fans.
“Nico is an extremely talented young player with a big future ahead of him. He’s developed tremendously this season and became a very important part of our midfield. We’re looking forward to him progressing even further next season.
“Gedion is a player we really believe in - he has a huge amount of talent. Unfortunately, his recovery from injuries has been more difficult than expected and he’s worked extremely hard. He has been fit for a number of months now and made some key contributions on the field during the end of the season and we’re excited to see his continued progression.’’
TRANSACTION: New York City FC signs Héber Araujo dos Santos signs contract extension
Name: Héber Araujo dos Santos
Date of Birth: 08/10/1991
Hometown: Colorado do Oeste, Brazil
TRANSACTION: New York City FC signs Nicolás Acevedo signs contract extension
Name: Nicolás Acevedo
Weight: 161 lbs
Date of Birth: 4/14/1999
Hometown: Montevideo, Uruguay
TRANSACTION: New York City FC signs Gedion Zelalem signs contract extension
Name: Gedion Zelalem
Weight: 163 lbs
Date of Birth: 1/26/1997
Hometown: Berlin, Germany