Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet & Greet with Reyna and Pernetti!

I am thrilled to announce that we have a Meet & Greet with Claudio Reyna and Tim Pernetti scheduled for Thursday, May 1st!

It's an amazing opportunity to speak with the men who are building our club as we speak.

Space is limited, RSVP to today!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love the Concrete Dove

Our club's official name presents us with a tremendous opportunity; as we build our club culture together, so too can we give it a name. Or at least nickname.

I've been thinking about "Pigeons" as a nickname for our club (either for the players, or for the fans). This was a subject we talked about at our first public meeting back in February, and frankly the response was better than I expected it to be. Seems like people could get behind it.

The mighty pigeon, Columba livia, is a fitting urban symbol, and although the species is hardly unique to New York City, anything sufficiently urban is ours for the claiming.

And those flying rats are everywhere. They're a fixture in Times Square, they chase tourists for crumbs in Central Park, they can be found in every corner of the city from rooftops to public parks, empty lots to busy streets. They're tough, fearless, and totally unphased by everything around them.

And everywhere you see pigeons, they strut around like they own the place. No wonder we love them.

Besides, mascot logos are great. They're an opportunity to bring some whimsy to sports, something always in danger of taking itself way too seriously.

In particular, I'm reminded of the Baltimore Orioles, who have been well-represented by their bird logo.

The original Oriole was designed by a cartoonist for the Baltimore Sun. The newspaper used to run cartoons playing on the results from the previous day:
If the Orioles lost against Boston, for example, (cartoonist James Adams) Hartzell might draw the bird being chased out of Fenway Park with a bean pot aimed squarely at his head. If they beat Milwaukee, a somewhat-in-his-cups bird might be leaning against the bar rail enjoying a couple of mugs of beer.
I think we can presume that the Orioles beat the Yankees before this thumbnail cartoon was published, based on the happy sunny Oriole soaring above the Statue of Liberty. One quick image tells the story: brilliant.

So could we do something similar with the noble pigeon? Absolutely.

C'mon. Who would mess with this guy?

You mess with him, you mess with all his friends. Pigeons stick together.

Say it with me:

"Come on, you Pigeons!"

I think it has just the right ring. Let's see if we can't get this to catch on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm In - Are You?

I've got my season ticket deposit in - I hope you'll join me at Yankee Stadium!

EDIT: NYCFC has released a video of Monday's press conference:

So excited.

Monday, April 21, 2014

City Makes It Official: It's the Bronx for 2015!

At 11:00am today, I was at a press conference in Yankee Stadium as New York City FC made two important announcements. The first was that, as was previously reported in the New York Times, they will make Yankee Stadium their inaugural home.

Representing City was Chief Business Officer Tim Pernetti, head coach Jason Kreis and Director of Football Operations Claudio Reyna. The Yankees were represented by their president Randy Levine, chief operation officer Lonn A. Trost and, in a surprise move, Yankee legend Mariano Rivera.

The club wouldn't set a limit on how many seasons will be played in Yankee Stadium. A soccer-specific stadium within the city limits is still very much going to happen.

Trost explained that the pitch layout will be substantially similar to previous football matches at the Stadium. The pitch will be 110 yards by 70. This seems narrow, but Kreis dismissed any concerns. "My personal experience — because at Real Salt Lake, at Rio Tinto Stadium, between 2009 and 2010, it was 70 yards wide — for me, that’s a comfortable width. If you start going narrower than that, 68, 66, then you have some concerns. But for me, when I was told it would be 70 yards wide, I was a very, very happy man."

It will take the Yankee grounds crew three days to convert the baseball diamond to a soccer pitch, and three days to move back again, "two and a half days if we work all night." Although Major League Baseball has reportedly expressed some concerns about damage to the diamond during the Yankee season, Levine expressed full confidence in his crew's ability to make the transition. He reminded everyone that Yankee Stadium already hosts events from hockey to soccer to concerts. He hearkened back to George Steinbrenner's original vision for the park. "When we built this building," he said, "the Boss always wanted to keep it open year-round."

As for capacity, the current plans are to close off the grandstand and terrace levels. That will bring the capacity down from 49,642 to approximately 33,444 seats, more in line with the larger MLS parks (and nine thousand more than Red Bull Arena).

Obviously, sightlines will be an issue. And a baseball stadium isn't a great permanent home for soccer. But still, Yankee Stadium is an iconic building, the most important sports arena in the area. There's something very cool about starting out there. It will always be a part of our history, even after we move to a permanent home. And NYCFC will likewise always be a part of the Stadium's legacy. Not to mention it's good to emphasize the Yankee part of our ownership group for a while.

The club then made its second announcement of the day: season ticket sales would begin at 1:00 pm.

Rivera, a soccer fan in his own right, was revealed to be "our first season ticket holder". Mo was presented with an oversize commemorative ticket:

After the press conference, we moved out onto the field. It was something, to emerge from the tunnel to see the green grass on the field, the famous white frieze along the top of the grandstand, and the new NYCFC logo fifty feet tall on the scoreboard.

It was quite an experience, to stand on the warning track in front of the home dugout and imagine 33,000 soccer fans all singing in unison. I can't wait for 2015.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NYCFC Adds Eight Youth Affiliates

While much of our recent focus as fans has been on the crest, the merchandise, even the stadium, the club has been building bridges within the existing soccer community. Today, New York City FC announced that it had partnered with eight existing youth soccer groups as official affiliates:

NYCFC Teams Up with Eight Youth Soccer Organizations Across the Five Boroughs
17 April 2014 15:07
Posted by Janine Padilla

New York City FC to Provide Local Youth with World-Class Training and Resources, Appoints Paul Jeffries to Lead Club's Community Outreach Efforts.

New York City FC announced today that eight youth soccer organizations throughout greater New York City will serve as New York City FC's official affiliate clubs. The affiliations with New York City FC will provide a clear pathway for the local youth soccer community to reach the highest level of competition, providing each with access to the invaluable resources and expertise of Major League Soccer's 20th team.

The Club also announced that Paul Jeffries, former director at Downtown United Soccer Club, will be named Director of Community Development. Jeffries will oversee all New York City FC's community engagement efforts, managing the Club's Community Soccer programs including coaching sessions, clinics and camps, as well as New York City FC's ongoing relationship with local youth and adult leagues across the five boroughs.

Forming official ties with these youth soccer organizations and appointing Jeffries to lead ongoing engagement efforts stays true to New York City FC's core mission of being committed and connected to the New York City community.

Through New York City FC's relationship with sister club Manchester City FC, the eight affiliate clubs will have the opportunity to work with renowned soccer coaches and training staff, providing expertise and resources from both organizations. From community programs, to youth development, scouting, coaching, sports science and first team football operations, the New York City area's youth soccer community will have an unprecedented level of access to world-class soccer expertise. Affiliate club coaches will also have the opportunity to learn at Manchester City Academy, and elite players will have the chance to play alongside some of the world's best up-and-coming talent at Manchester City's new state-of-the-art facility.

The eight affiliate clubs are:
  • Blau-Weiss Gottschee
  • Downtown United Soccer Club
  • Manhattan Soccer Club
  • Metropolitan Oval
  • New York Soccer Club
  • South Bronx United
  • Staten Island United
  • World Class FC
Each affiliate organization was chosen based on its strong quality of players, dedicated coaching staff and commitment to the New York City community. The selection of these eight clubs marks the first step in New York City FC's ongoing effort to deepen its connection to local youth organizations and to grow the Club's local affiliate network throughout the tri-state area.

Claudio Reyna, Sporting Director of New York City FC, added, "Through our affiliations with each of these organizations, we will play an integral role in the development of the area's most talented youth. After previously serving as Youth Technical Director for U.S. Soccer, I'm passionate about youth development and know firsthand what a critical role these programs can play in local communities, and in improving and advancing the level of coaching and talent across the country. And with the appointment of Paul, we'll be able to take a comprehensive approach in directly engaging our local communities and youth. We're thrilled to have a veteran like Paul at the helm of our community development efforts."

Paul Jeffries commented "I'm honored to join the New York City FC family and lead the Club's efforts to give back to the New York City community. Throughout my time at Downtown United Soccer Club and City Soccer in the Community, I've seen the critical role that soccer can play in improving the lives and opportunities for young people. I look forward to continuing my work, bringing soccer-based development programs to more youth across New York City and helping New York City FC deepen their ties with local communities across the five boroughs."

Jeffries, a native of Manchester, England and a former professional soccer player for Oldham Athletic, has always been dedicated to bringing soccer to youth communities, especially those in New York City. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the City Soccer in the Community program where he ran the day-to-day operations for over 20 City Soccer schools in both New York City and Los Angeles, as well as additional programs in Chicago, Miami, and Washington, DC. During his career, Jeffries also served as the Director of Academy and Recreation for Downtown United Soccer Club in New York City, where he helped build a soccer program that served public schools in low-income neighborhoods, and as Director of Central City Initiative, an organization that provides free soccer training to inner-city youth.

Each New York City FC affiliate Club provided comment on the announcement:

Blau Weiss Gottschee: "Today, Blau Weiss Gottschee is one of the nation's largest and most successful clubs thanks in large part to the high level of volunteerism by coaches and parents," said Ben Boehm, Youth Director. "We are honored to now have the professional expertise of New York City FC and their staff, whose resources and instruction on-and-off the pitch will be invaluable to our kids."

Downtown United Soccer Club: "Our mission is to educate, train and inspire youth soccer players of all ages and abilities in a positive, respectful, supportive environment," said Tom Frambach, General Manager. "Our affiliation with New York City FC will help us fulfill this mission by fostering a community in which local children can develop a lifelong love for the beautiful game of soccer and realize their full potential as both players and people."

Manhattan Soccer Club: "With more than 50 teams at all levels of competition comprised of more than 750 boys and girls aged eight to 18, Manhattan Soccer Club is one of the largest clubs in New York State," said Ray Selvadurai, Director of Coaching. "It is a privilege to align with New York City FC and sister club Manchester City FC. Their guidance on both athletic and personal development will benefit every single one of our participants."

Metropolitan Oval: "We're proud to announce our affiliation with New York City FC, an organization that shares our commitment to developing New York area youth in a committed environment," said Jeffrey Saunders, Sporting Director. "The youth who participate at our Center for Excellence, based at New York City's premiere youth development facility, now have a clear pathway to ascend to the highest level of competition."

New York Soccer Club: "At New York Soccer Club, we are dedicated to bringing the highest levels of coaching and leadership training to student-players in the Westchester community," said Rossano Polvara, President. "It is a privilege to announce our affiliation with a local professional soccer team and to have access to the world-class talent and resources of both New York City FC and Manchester City, and provide our players with seamless progression to the top levels of the game."

South Bronx United: "South Bronx United uses soccer as a tool to enrich the lives of South Bronx and immigrant youth," said Andrew So, Executive Director. "Our affiliation with New York City FC will allow us to fulfill our mission of helping boys and girls build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed on the soccer field, in the classroom, and in the community. We are thrilled that New York City FC shares these same values."

Staten Island United: "It is my distinct pleasure to announce Staten Island United's affiliation with New York City FC, Major League Soccer's 20th expansion team," said Lenny Buccelato, Presidents. "The elite training staff at New York City FC will teach the values that have formed our foundation: positive character, self-worth and physical well-being. We're excited for the opportunity this affiliation provides for our players and coaches."

World Class FC: "Our affiliation with New York City FC directly aligns with our goal of providing top quality, comprehensive training and the highest level of development for all of our players," said Kazbek Tambi, Executive Director of Coaching at World Class FC. "With the help of the talented staff and the resources afforded by New York City FC, we are excited at the prospect of pushing technical skill development, tactical knowledge and competitive team play to new heights."
This is amazing news. Good for the club, providing a ready fanbase, good for kids who love the sport. All part of nurturing and growing New York's soccer community.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NY Times: "New York City F.C. to Play at Yankee Stadium for Three Years"

We've long presumed that NYCFC will play its first seasons in Yankee Stadium while building a soccer-specific stadium, but the Paper of Record reports today that the club will soon make it official:

New York City F.C. to Play at Yankee Stadium for Three Years

New York City F.C., a team that will enter Major League Soccer next year, will play its first three seasons at Yankee Stadium, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.

The team, which is jointly owned by the Yankees and Manchester City of the Premier League, is expected to make the announcement next week.

The question of where the team would play its home games has hovered since it was announced last May that the club would join the league, delaying plans for everything from marketing and advertising to season ticket sales. The team has frequently promised a decision — it told the league in January that it would have a plan in 30 days — but has consistently missed even those self-imposed deadlines, to the frustration of M.L.S. officials and prospective fans.

The Yankee Stadium solution is a temporary reprieve; the team must find a site for a permanent home and construct it, and the three-year commitment at Yankee Stadium could be a hint at how difficult that might be.

After community opposition derailed plans for a stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park last year, the Yankees turned their attention to a site near Yankee Stadium. In August, the Yankees’ president, Randy Levine, said the team was in negotiations for a nine-acre parcel between the Major Deegan Expressway and East 153rd Street that could accommodate a 25,000-to-30,000-seat stadium with connections to subways and rail lines.

But the team has announced no progress since then, and with the 2015 season less a year away, the announcement of a temporary home will buy the club some time.

The practical considerations of the Yankees and New York City F.C. sharing the same stadium are unclear; M.L.S. and Major League Baseball play March-to-October schedules. When Manchester City and Chelsea played an exhibition at the Stadium in 2013, temporary grass was installed over the infield dirt for the soccer game.

But that game was a single match played during an eight-game Yankees trip, not a full schedule — currently 34 games for M.L.S. teams — that would require repeated installation and removal of the grass, and result in far more wear and tear on the rest of the playing surface.

A Yankees executive emphasized to reporters earlier this year that a potential shared space was not a concern, saying the Yankees “realized what we were getting into” when they went into their M.L.S. partnership with Manchester City. At an event in February to announce a summer exhibition game between Manchester City and Liverpool, Mark Holtzman, the Yankees’ executive director of nonbaseball events, said the team generally required several days to prepare for events and then several more to repair the playing surface for baseball. But he also noted that since its opening in 2009, the stadium has hosted soccer games as well as a schedule of summer concerts.

“Technology has gotten to the point where I think we can turn it around pretty quickly,” Holtzman said.

“Baseball is clearly the No. 1 priority,” he added. “We wouldn’t do anything to put anyone at any risk; there’s a major investment here in the players. At the end of the day, we look at these opportunities very carefully, and we wouldn’t get into these opportunities unless we were confident in the end result.”

Ken Belson contributed reporting.
Not surprising if true.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Here's the Key

The crest has been unveiled, the merchandise is on the street, and perhaps we can glean some larger meaning from it. This is our first opportunity to really see it in action.

Unfortunately, it appears that they're going to put a white keyline around it on dark backgrounds. Check out these shirts:

Two shades of gray, sky blue, no problem. But the navy tshirt has that ugly white border.

This is also true of the caps; the sky blue snapback is fine, but the navy slouch cap has been given a keyline.

A keyline is intended to make a logo stand out against a background, especially one of a similar color. But the NYCFC crest doesn't need a keyline; the orange circle already serves the same function. Adding a white circle around a logo already comprised of circles just makes it more complex and messy.

It may be a small thing, but I'm really hoping that this isn't going to be part of the club's standard treatment.

UPDATE:   The second round of merchandise has hit the online shop, and it's good news:

New navy flex fit cap, but no white keyline. You can see what I mentioned above, that the outer orange circle serves as a keyline itself, separating the crest from the background.

It looks so much better this way, I hope NYCFC will carry this forward to all applications.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Merchandise On the Street

I was featured (twice!) in this photo, tweeted out by NYCFC and comprised of merchandise pics provided by fans:

Can't wait to start seeing some of this stuff on the street myself.