Ever since he found out he was going to be playing for NYCFC in 2018, Saad Abdul-Salaam has been apartment hunting.
“It’s going to be really exciting living in New York City," said the defender. "I’ve been looking at apartments all morning, but I haven’t decided where I’ll be living just yet. I’m pretty excited to just experience everything the city has to offer.
“I had an idea that maybe I was going to get traded at some point. I had no idea to what club, but I’m super excited that it turned out to be NYCFC."
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By the time Saad finds himself a place and gets settled into his new home, preseason will be just around the corner. Having already played for a head coach with a strong track record and cup-winning pedigree at Sporting KC, the fullback is understandably thrilled at the prospect of working with one of his childhood idols, Patrick Vieira.
"I remember watching Patrick when I was a kid," mused Abdul-Salaam.
"It’s kind of a dream come true to be working with one of the guys you grew up watching play, the fact that he was a defender and I’m a defender. I’m just super excited to get there and start working with him, and keep growing as a player.
"When I was younger, I was a forward, so I was watching more of Thierry Henry than Vieira. But as I got older and saw myself becoming a defender, that was when I really started honing in on how Patrick was playing.”
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Abdul-Salaam comes to NYCFC having already found success in MLS. Sporting KC reached the playoffs in each of his three seasons there, during which time he helped his former team lift two U.S. Open Cups.
Now, the 26-year-old wants to help bring silverware to New York City.
"I’ve won two U.S. Open Cups with Kansas City, and that’s an amazing feeling," said Abdul-Salaam. "I hope that, as a team, we can bring one of those to this team and to this city, because it’s a great feeling.
"I know the Club was second in the Supporters’ Shield race last season, and that’s something I’ve never won. I’m hungry for that and I hope we can bring home the Shield.
“Obviously, that MLS Cup is the goal every season. Bringing that home, as a team, is what I really want.”
Abdul-Salaam is hungry for success with NYCFC in 2018, and he's ready to put in the work to turn those ambitions into reality. NYCFC has built an identity around hard work and commitment, and judging by Saad's attitude, he'll fit right in.
“Individually, I want to be the best I can be," said the new signing. "My ambitions are high for what I can achieve. I want to challenge myself, I don’t want to leave anything out there. I want it all. I’m ready to put in work when I arrive. I’m looking forward to it, day in and day out, getting ready for this season.
"I’m going to give my all for the city, for the Club, and for the fans every time I step on the field. That’s a guarantee."
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