After many months in the making, it was officially announced on Wednesday that New York City FC will be Major League Soccer's 20th franchise beginning in 2015. The majority stake in NYCFC will be held by the English Premier League's Manchester City, while the MLB's New York Yankees will be a minority partner, according to Simon Evans of Reuters (via Yahoo! Sports).
This is a huge announcement as it ensures that top-level soccer will be making its return to New York. While the New York Red Bulls are already in the MLS, they play in New Jersey, so New York City FC will be a true representation of the Big Apple.
At the same time, NYCFC will have an international flavor due to its relationship with Man City. In fact, Manchester City players attended the press conference and appeared to be very excited about a sister club in the MLS:
Manchester City @ManCity
US TOUR: City players snapped at today's press conference at Lexington #mcfc #nycfc #cityontour http://t.co/wJOzHyDn3A5/22/2013, 2:53:29 PM
MLS commissioner Don Garber was present at the press conference, and he believes that this announcement can help MLS become one of the best soccer leagues in the entire world, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
#MLS' Don Garber: "Our vision is to be one of the worlds top soccer leagues and today's announcement is a step toward that" #nycfc #yankees5/22/2013, 2:21:53 PM
As is often the case with new franchises in sports, there is plenty of buzz surrounding NYCFC right now, as there is still a lot of uncertainty with regard to where they'll play and who will be part of the organization. Some of those pieces fell into place on Wednesday, but there are still questions to be answered.
Here is everything you need to know about New York City FC as it prepares for the 2015 MLS season.
Claudio Reyna Named First NYCFC Employee
While we won't know who will be playing for NYCFC for quite some time, the club's first employee was revealed on Wednesday. According to MLS on Twitter, former United States national team captain and New York area native Claudio Reyna has been named NYCFC's director of football operations:
Major League Soccer @MLS
Huge news: Claudio Reyna named director of football for @NYCFC. https://t.co/AI9QZQlSqu5/22/2013, 2:38:57 PM
As someone who played for Manchester City as well as the New York Red Bulls, Reyna appears to be a great fit, and he also is familiar with the franchise's primary ownership as well as the New York area.
Reyna is extremely excited about the opportunity and seems ready to make New York City FC a perennial power in the MLS, according to MLSSoccer.com:
Having had the privilege of playing both for my country here in the US and for Manchester City FC in England, I could not have hoped for a more tailored-made opportunity in soccer, Reyna said in a statement. I am incredibly excited to again wear City’s ‘Sky Blue’ as part of the expansion of the MLS and the growth of soccer in the United States, and am honored to have been offered this opportunity.
Building a team from scratch is no easy task, but Reyna is one of the most accomplished American soccer players of all time, and it certainly seems likely that he has a keen eye for talent. In addition to that, there is little doubt that he is committed to building a winner in his hometown.
It should be very interesting to see how things grow around Reyna over the next couple years as New York City FC adds to its family and truly takes shape as an MLS organization.
Where Will NYCFC Play?
One of the biggest question marks surrounding New York City FC is where they'll play their home games. According to Joe Prince-Wright of Pro Soccer Talk, the primary choice is a stadium in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. However, it is possible that the plan will fall through.
According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, the Yankees and Manchester City paid MLS $100 million in order to expand, but the proposed $300 million Flushing Meadows stadium may not come to fruition:
Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
#MCFC & #Yankees pay $100 million for #NYCFC, and why it could spell the end of #MLS' Flushing Meadow plans. http://t.co/IM0ODzkabW5/21/2013, 11:29:21 PM
Lewis is reporting that while MLS commissioner Don Garber, Yankees president Randy Levine and Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano all want to make a Flushing Meadows stadium happen, they may have to explore other options. There has been some opposition as building the stadium would take up 14 acres of park land, so it is far from a sure thing at this point.
Even if an agreement is reached for a stadium in Queens, it will almost certainly take more than two years to build. With that in mind, Prince-Wright speculated on some potential temporary locations for NYCFC beginning in 2015.
Among the venues he mentions are Yankee Stadium, the New York Mets' Citi Field, the New York Jets and Giants' MetLife Stadium, the New York Red Bulls' Red Bull Arena and Columbia University Stadium. Yankee Stadium would obviously be ideal due to the Bronx Bombers' affiliation with the franchise, but the soccer and baseball seasons overlap, so it could be tricky.
Ultimately, it is anyone's guess where NYCFC will play in 2015 and beyond, but luckily there is no shortage of options in the New York area.
Will David Beckham Have Any Involvement?
One thing that wasn't discussed much at the New York City FC press conference was recently retired star David Beckham. The former L.A. Galaxy phenom can exercise the right to become an MLS owner contractually, but according to MLS, he won't be doing that with NYCFC.
Major League Soccer @MLS
Becks & the Big Apple? Or do his interests lie elsewhere --> http://t.co/lM94IvCfCd #NYCFC5/22/2013, 12:05:25 PM
Speculation naturally heated up since Beckham's retirement and the announcement of NYCFC came in such close proximity to each other, but that was simply coincidental. According to MLSSoccer.com, Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano never reached out to Beckham and never intended to make him part of the ownership team.
We've never spoken to David Beckham and he's never been considered as part of the ownership of this team, Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano said on a Tuesday media teleconference call. Not even as an executive.
With that said, Beckham could still be part of future expansion. New York City FC is all about Manchester City and the Yankees, though, so there really wasn't a logical role for Beckham to play. He still figures into the league's future plans, however, and could be huge when it comes to trying to help MLS reach the next level.
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