Alex Ring is relishing the prospect of leading New York City’s Football Club out for the first time in 2019 on Sunday.
Speaking at the Rockefeller Center before the second annual 24-Hour Game, presented by Degree Deodorant, The Ringleader emphasized that the team’s incredible home record in his two-season stay at NYCFC is largely down to the fans.
Going into Sunday’s Home Opener vs. D.C. United, Alex believes NYC’s “strong and loyal” fanbase could make all the difference on Sunday and beyond.
Ring told reporters: “I think we’ve always been close to our fans, especially at home games. Our record speaks for itself - we’re comfortable at home, we love to play at home in front of our own fans.
“I think we show up because of the enthusiasm, in Europe we call it the 12th man for a reason and that’s why we need everyone to show up on Sunday and every home game this season if we want to achieve our goals, we’re going to need all the help we can get.
“Especially now that we have a very young team, where there are going to be young players in the game. I know in New York the fanbase is really strong and loyal so I’m not concerned.”
Ring scored his third goal for NYCFC on the opening day of City’s fifth season in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Orlando.
The former Finland international was forthright in his view that the draw felt like a defeat after his side dropped a two-goal advantage, but he’s not feeling any external pressure to perform; just the same high standards he’s always demanded of himself and others in City blue.
“There’s no such thing as pressure from what other people, the only pressure is what I give to myself,” Alex reflected.
“Otherwise, I just enjoy the moment, just trying to do my best leading the guys out, doing my duty out here, but other than that I don’t see it as pressure. Otherwise, I would be doing the wrong job, you want to be in soccer, sports is pressure. If you can’t deal with it, then… I think I thrive more under pressure.”
Ring became New York City’s second captain in the offseason and it’s a responsibility he is also relishing.
Leading a “young, hungry” team into battle vs. D.C. United in Sunday’s Home Opener, Ring has called upon the supporters to help make special things happen for the Boys in Blue in 2019.
“In the end, I represent my teammates so I may be the voice of the team as you like to say, so of course I have four or five guys who we sit down with as teammates and I talk with them about different things.
“In the end, I am the arm between the coach and the team, that’s my job and I try to represent both in a good way.
“I think it’s exciting that we have a young and hungry team, and I think it can be an advantage where you’re not thinking too much if you get into a good flow early on in the season it can be something that you can ride out the wave.
“Like I said, we’re going to need the fans - we have a young and hungry team, there will be phases where it’ll be very difficult but I'm sure in a city like New York, where the fans are behind the team, special things can happen.
“Nothing else like winning it here in this city...”