It’s easy to say New York City FC fans always have to wait for everything, but here are six feats they’ve already accomplished.
When is New York City FC going to hire a new head coach? Their last one, Domènec Torrent, has been gone since Nov. 8. They’re set to begin training camp before the CONCACAF Champions League next week.
It does seem like NYCFC will bring in a coach soon. Former Celtic F.C. head coach, Ronny Deila, has been heavily linked to a move to the Bronx since Thursday.
Elsewhere, New York is behind on signing players outside of their youth teams. It’s almost two months into the offseason. It took them 111 days to sign a striker last season.
And of course, the big one the fans are still waiting for: When are they receiving a proper soccer stadium? NYCFC was founded six years ago and they are still playing in a baseball stadium.
It seems like it’s always been a question of waiting for the Bronx-based club. To their credit, NYCFC has also achieved some remarkable things on and off the field in light speed.
Here are six things that the Cityzens didn’t have to wait for.
1. NYCFC signed a promising homegrown player in just three seasons
It only took the Pigeons almost three full seasons to sign a promising homegrown player. It’s not just any homegrown player, but one who’s inching towards a bright career: James Sands.
The 19-year-old was a regular in the starting lineup last season. He played far beyond his age in positions that require a ton of experience: defense and defensive midfield.
Sands was called onto the United States U-23 roster after last season. He additionally earned a training spot on Fortuna Dusseldorf’s team in the Bundesliga in November.
When it comes to producing quality homegrown players in the MLS, three years is a short amount of time. It took other MLS sides founded in the 2010s much longer to do such a thing.
The Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. produced their first promising homegrown player after six seasons, signing Ballou Tabla and Alphonso Davies respectively. It also took the Seattle Sounders five seasons to do so with DeAndre Yedlin in 2013.
2. New York had superstars from Europe’s top leagues in their first season
NYCFC had three players who excelled in Europe in their inaugural campaign: David Villa, Frank Lampard, and Andrea Pirlo.
New York and Orlando City SC are the only two expansion sides from the 2010s who had a well-known player across the world in their inaugural season. Ballon d’Or winner, Ricardo Kaká, was on Orlando’s roster in 2015.
Some of the older MLS teams still haven’t welcomed a world-class player on their roster to this day.
Of course, bringing a quality player in the dying stage of his career is always a risk. Villa was worth taking that risk. The Spaniard ultimately played up to his name. Which leads us to our next point…
3. NYCFC had an MVP in only two seasons
Ten MLS teams haven’t had the chance to brag about an MVP of their own yet. One of those clubs (the Colorado Rapids) has been around since the league’s inaugural season. Hence, it’s been 24 years without them producing a player of that magnitude.
NYCFC had an MVP in their second year in the MLS in Villa.
4. The Bronx Blues made the playoffs in their second season
NYCFC wasn’t just showcasing individual brilliance in their early days in the MLS. They were portraying collective brilliance.
They made the playoffs in just their second year in the MLS. NYCFC trailed by just three points to their crosstown rivals, the New York Red Bulls for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
5. New York topped their conference in five seasons
NYCFC is the fourth-fastest team in the East to top the conference during the regular season. New York finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2019 after just five years in the league.
6. NYCFC has already made the Champions League
After finishing atop the Eastern Conference last year, the Cityzens qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time.
NYCFC will play their first Champions League match on Feb. 20 against A.D. San Carlos at 8 p.m. ET. The match will take place at Estadio Carlos Ugalde Alvarez.