2017 is well and truly in the rearview mirrors and so we turn the page and look ahead to NYCFC: Season Four.
Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with Five Things to look forward to in the year ahead…
Major League Soccer will release the 2018 Schedule in early January, meaning we’ll all be able to start filing in our calendars and diaries through to Decision Day in October.
Our Home Opener has already been set for March 11 when we host LA Galaxy, just a week after we travel to Children’s Mercy Park for the first game of the 2018 season vs. Sporting KC.
When will we face the MLS Cup holders, Toronto? When will those Hudson River Derbies take place? When will we lock horns with MLS newcomers, LAFC? All will soon be revealed.
NYCFC’s acquisition of 20-year old Jesus Medina was the first transfer you could read about on Planet Earth in 2018 (if you happened to be on Christmas Island at midnight, that is…).
An exciting talent who had reportedly attracted interest from heavyweight South American and European clubs, the Paraguayan brings creativity and goals to the front line as the fourth addition of the offseason.
Joining him at Yankee Stadium as a newcomer for 2018, Anton Tinnerholm is a defender with international and UEFA Champions League experience who will slot straight in to a squad that always wants to play on the front foot.
In Saad Abdul-Salaam, NYCFC have another full-back with league experience and a growing reputation in the game, while Brad Stuver is an excellent ‘keeper who will provide competition for Sean Johnson and Andre Rawls.
With more additions to follow in the coming weeks, City are building a strong roster packed with talent to compete on multiple fronts for silverware and we can’t wait to see how it all blends together.
Speaking of the blend, it’s just as thrilling to see how those we’ve watched in previous years take their next steps.
As it stands, the average age of NYCFC’s roster stands at 25, with 15 of the current 20-player roster at the age of 26 or under.
It should for a dynamic, pacey, attacking lineup in 2018, with the likes of Yangel Herrera, Jack Harrison and Ronald Matarrita, to name but three, coming back another year older and wiser as they take the next step in the footballing developments.
With two months left for more additions, plus January’s MLS SuperDraft still to come, NYC look likely to be well equipped to get through a World Cup year with strength in depth in every position.
NYCFC’s new training facility is set to open its doors in the Spring, giving the Boys in Blue a permanent home in Orangeburg.
When the plans were announced in 2016, Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira spoke of the importance of having an elite facility to call home – a place to celebrate wins and to come together after difficult defeats, a place built by the club, for the club.
It will take NYCFC to the next level on and off the field and we can’t wait to get in there!
The Production Line
Medina isn’t the only youngster who looks set to grace the Bronx in 2018.
Our first-ever Homegrown Player James Sands will be aiming to kick on following his MLS debut last season, while there a whole host of Academy players looking to follow Sands in graduating to the first-team.
There is promising talent spread throughout our Generation adidas Cup winning side - a fact borne out by the fact that seven players were called up to various USBNT age-groups for training camps and friendlies this week.
As soccer fans, there’s little more pleasing than seeing our own Academy products take to the field and we should be in for plenty of these moments, in 2018 and beyond…