Santiago Rodríguez | “I’m So Happy To Be Back.” 

Santi training

Santiago Rodríguez says he is delighted to be back with New York City Football Club.

The Uruguayan made a welcome return to the Club earlier this month, putting pen to paper on a new contract as a Designated Player through the 2027 season.

Arriving at the City Football Academy last Friday, the midfielder received a warm welcome, and made his first appearance of the season from the bench the following day at Chicago Fire.

Ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-awaited home opener against Inter Miami CF, Rodríguez says he’s thrilled to be back in City Blue, and determined to help Nick Cushing’s side to more silverware, having already savored MLS Cup, Campeones Cup and Eastern Conference glory.

“Personally, I feel very happy,” he said. “Being back at the Club makes me very happy, I’m glad to be back.

“For me, it was very special that [Sporting Director] David Lee came down to Montevideo and spoke to me. It showed me he really did want me to come back as a New York City player.

“Conversations progressed after that, and once we continued conversations, I still felt the desire from the Club. It was also a desire of mine to return – this is a special Club, I know the team, I know the style of play already, and we had a very special year last year.

“[As a DP] there is some level of responsibility, but I’ll keep doing what I was doing last year, playing soccer, enjoying myself and my time on the field.

“We had a good season last year, and I want to continue doing the things I was doing back then. It's an added responsibly, and I'm ready to take that role, but as long as we do what we need to do on the training pitch, the results will show.

“All those factors motivated me into me returning.”

Santi training 2

With a week between the Chicago trip and home opener, Head Coach Cushing says Rodríguez has integrated back into the squad well, reunited with old friends and forging new relationships with the Club’s new signings.

The midfielder says he and the team are excited to be back on home soil this weekend, eager to step out in front of City’s own fans, and are fully focused on clinching a first win of the season.

“In terms of the games coming up, it’s time for us to start getting some points,” he declared. “We’ve left some points on the table in the last two matches, but now it’s time for us to get aligned, and start getting some points to climb the standings.

“Obviously it’s a new team, different but we still have a lot of regulars who were here the last couple of seasons in Thiago [Andrade], Talles [Magno], Gabby [Pereira], Maxime Chanot…

“I am very open with my teammates, and I try to get along with everyone. With Tony [Alfaro] and Braian [Cufré], and the fact that we speak the same language, I get along very well with them. We are here every day, having breakfast, training. We see each other every day so that makes us get along.

“Also, with teammates who don't speak the same language, somehow we make ourselves understood, and help each other when we can. I try to speak English, but it is kind of bad, very bad! But we get along well, and that's the important thing because it generates a union in the team that is very important.

“We all have to do our part to continue to work hard and progress, but we have to do it quickly. The season comes at you fast, and we don’t want to lose too many points.

“We're going to work very hard to find that chemistry, and get the team going in order to try to reach the playoffs, and get us as deep as we can in the playoffs. That's the goal.”

NYCFC are back on home soil, welcoming Inter Miami CF to Yankee Stadium in our 2023 home opener on Saturday, March 11th (7:30pm ET). Tickets for the game are available now!

Join us at our pre-match Home Opener Celebration between 5-7pm at Billy's Sports Bar in the Bronx, and get in the mood for our first home game of 2023 with a DJ, food and drinks, games and raffle prizes! Register here.

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