Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Man City Badge leaked?

This badge just started making the rounds. If this is it, the new badge does owe something to our club's design.


It's a combination of City's classic 1960s badge with NYCFC's.

Initial reactions: not enough sky blue, too much empty space, "City" looks goofy leveled off. They would have been better off keeping it with "Manchester" and arcing "Football Club" below. Really twin it with ours; Manchester City has ample and obvious reason to do so, unlike a certain other club I could name. Gotham font is always appreciated, though.



UPDATE 12/26:   Yep, this is it. It was officially unveiled during the Boxing Day match against Sunderland.


Here it is in historical context:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First 2016 Games Announced!

Just minutes ago, the club announced the dates of their 2016 Road and Home Openers.


Once again, the Boys in Blue will open on the road. This time it's in Chicago, on Sunday, March 6 at 2pm ET. Their first game in the Bronx will be against Toronto FC on Sunday, March 13 at 5PM EST.

At this point, tickets for the Home Opener are only available through the club's Holiday Pack promotion or a season-ticket City Membership.

The Chicago match is tempting. But I'll definitely be there at Yankee Stadium - and next year, I will have three season tickets instead of two, so both of my boys can join me to watch the 2016 season get underway!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Empire of Soccer: "NYCFC seek homegrown claim on Wake Forest star Jack Harrison"

Empire of Soccer has this fascinating read:


According to several sources, NYCFC are looking to claim Wake Forest midfielder and 2014-15 Gatorade Player of the Year Jack Harrison as their first Homegrown Player.

Harrison, 19, is a highly touted freshman at Wake Forest and a Manchester United academy product. His connection to NYCFC? Playing with NYCFC youth affiliate Manhattan Soccer Club for the past three years. Sources tell EoS that NYCFC hope the affiliate association this past season will be enough to qualify him as a Homegrown Player under the constructs of MLS.

That argument, however, will face stiff resistance. In order to qualify as a Homegrown, Harrison must show that he has participated at the club’s youth development system for at least a year. His work under the NYCFC affiliate could qualify for that standard, but that judgment remains in the hands of MLS. There are also other, unspecified league rules that go into the Homegrown title, leaving Harrison’s status under review by the league.

Harrison is already regarded as a top prospect in the college ranks, with many trusted sources placing him as a top five pick in the MLS SuperDraft.
Go read the rest over at Empire of Soccer. And check out these highlights from Harrison's time at the Berkshire School:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Empire of Soccer: "Sunnyside Yards: NYCFC’s Dream Stadium Location?"

Empire of Soccer has a really interesting article up now, regarding a parcel of land that NYCFC should be looking at, as well as explaining why it almost certainly won't happen.
Sunnyside Yards: NYCFC’s Dream Stadium Location?
By Bill Reese on December 18, 2015
Since the franchise was first announced, fans and pundits have speculated on dozens of properties where a soccer-specific stadium for New York City FC could be built. Empire of Soccer listed 10 potential sites in 2013, and analyzed two additional sites in the Bronx and Westchester after that.

As the calendar turns to 2016, the club is—at least publicly—no closer to a soccer-specific stadium than they were when the $100 million expansion fee check cleared in 2013.

However, EoS has learned that city and state agencies are currently investigating the potential of developing a massive piece of land in Sunnyside, Queens — vast enough to fit new city parks, thousands of units of affordable housing, a new convention center, or, perhaps, a soccer-specific stadium.

This piece of land is, in many ways, the “final frontier” of New York City’s real estate boom. In a city with shockingly few stadium-sized parcels of land available to build upon—this could become NYCFC’s last best shot of getting everything they want from a home field.
The Sunnyside rail yards in Queens as they look today.
The site in question is the Sunnyside Yards; a massive expanse of railroad tracks, train depots, and switches nestled between the neighborhoods of Sunnyside to the south and Long Island City to the north and west. It encompasses 192 acres and stretches from the mouth of the Long Island Railroad and Amtrak tunnels nearly halfway to the neighborhood of Woodside.

It is one of, if not the largest, undeveloped pieces of land in the entire city and it has been coveted for years by city officials and developers alike.

Sunnyside dwarfs similar NYC redevelopment projects where platforms were built above active rail yards, with large buildings later constructed atop those platforms. The West Side Yard near Penn Station was to be the site of the 2012 Olympic Stadium and later the home of the New York Jets before the proposal was defeated on the state level and the Olympics were awarded to London. A massive development project called Hudson Yards was approved and is now rising on that site. After years of community opposition and the use of eminent domain, the Vanderbilt Yard in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn was decked over and the Barclays Center—home of the Brooklyn Nets and now the New York Islanders—was built atop that platform. After years of delays, other residential and commercial structures are now atop other sections of the Vanderbilt rail yard.

The Barclays Center and Hudson Yards developments have provided the city with case studies in what to do with the Sunnyside Yards. Both were met by massive community opposition, and both took more than a decade to come to fruition. Both were—at least from the start—centered around a sports facility as their anchor tenant. Both were also approved in the pre-recession real estate boom of the mid-aughts and both had several brushes with death before they got off the ground.

The Sunnyside Yards could become just about anything, which is the site’s blessing and curse. The de Blasio administration, while championing a populist message, has been painfully impotent in imposing a meaningful affordable housing policy in a city festooned with cranes putting up luxury high-rise after luxury high-rise. Because Sunnyside is so big, and because there are so many power brokers at the table, there are dozens of proposals about what to do with the site. Mayor de Blasio unsurprisingly came out in favor of building affordable housing over the Sunnyside Yards, but others have called for constructing a brand new convention center to replace the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. Local politicians have called for more open space and parks to be placed on the site.

If a current study by New York State determines that decking over the Sunnyside Yards is feasible, then the location should become an incredibly attractive option not just for a NYCFC stadium for City Football Group, but also for Shiekh Mansour and his government’s investment arm, The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. The ADIA, on which Mansour sits on the Board of Directors, has moved to diversify its holdings in the last decade, not solely relying on the fluctuations of the global energy market. They have invested heavily in sports teams, cultural institutions, and real estate around the world, especially in New York City. The price of oil goes up and down, but New York City real estate will always be a sound investment. City Football Group, in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, could put together a master plan for Sunnyside similar to what the Riverbend Project tried to do in Harrison. They could use a NYCFC Stadium by itself, or in conjunction with a new Javits Center, to be the centerpiece of a massive mixed-use development. Unlike the Hudson Yards development on the far west side of Manhattan, Long Island City has never been hotter, and the transit options already exist in abundance.
How a 25,000 seat stadium would fit in relation to Sunnyside Yards.
Previous NYCFC stadium sites have all had their pros and cons, but on a conceptual level, Sunnyside Yards is a perfect 10. If placed between the Honeywell Avenue and 39th Street bridges, the stadium would be adjacent to six subway lines, a newly-built Long Island railroad stop in Sunnyside (part of the LIRR to Grand Central project), and the Long Island Expressway. The stadium would be within walking distance for fans in Long Island City and Astoria, and within a 20 minute train ride of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Everything is perfect, right? Well…

Even with all the money in the world—which Abu Dhabi basically has—this is a project that is nearly impossible to pull off in the current climate of New York politics. The developers would need to get New York State (who owns the MTA’s Long Island Railroad), the State of New Jersey (whose NJ Transit trains are parked in the Sunnyside Yard before they return to Penn Station and back out to Jersey), and the Federal government (whose Amtrak trains are parked and travel through the train yard) to agree to sell the air rights above the train yard.

Even if you miraculously get those three agencies on the same page, you’d have to also get the mayor and governor on the same page… and at this point Mike Petke and Ali Curtis are on better terms than Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio. If you could get those two on the same page, you would have to hire the best engineers in the world to construct a 192 acre platform 20-30 feet above one of the world’s busiest railways without disrupting service…And that’s all before they’d actually build the stadium or the buildings around it! Even if a master plan was agreed to today, it would likely be 10 years before the first buildings went up, and NYCFC (or MLS for that matter) likely won’t have that kind of patience.

Someday—someday sooner rather than later—a massive development is going to be built in the Sunnyside Yards. The forces building New York City bigger, taller, and richer will overcome the innumerate obstacles that stand in the way of the train yard being converted into a bustling city-within-a-city.

The City and State of New York will not come knocking on NYCFC’s door with a soccer-specific stadium on a silver platter, no matter how many “historic inaugural season ticket holders” the club has. Major League Soccer picked this ownership group because they have the resources to go out and build both a team—and stadium—of grand proportions.

Sunnyside Yards may be NYCFC’s best chance at fulfilling those grand ambitions.
Interesting idea. I've long thought that Long Island City would be a great central location, and Sunnyside Yards is only blocks north of that.

Their rendering is worth a second look, showing just how much land could conceivably be made available:


They could move that stadium to any number of places in the green, either the three large parcels north of the elevated subway tracks or even the small one directly south.

I used to live in the neighborhood of Sunnyside (which, in one of those geographical quirks Queensis known for, is actually a couple neighborhoods over from Sunnyside Yards). I would take the 7 train into work, and right before Queens Plaza was treated to an expansive view of the railyards. If I was thinking about development in the 1990s I can't believe somebody hasn't actually done it by now. Perhaps the various state parties make it just too complicated.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Future of Our League Is a Little Bit Clearer

With the unveiling of DC United's new badge, the future of MLS is really coming in to shape.


There's some great design in this league. I love the variety of MLS shields. That's the confirmed color set for both Atlanta United and Minnesota United. The LAFC shield is merely speculative, and we presume that Minnesota will be required to change its badge before their inaugural season.

Los Angeles is next - they're scheduled to release their badge on January 7th.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Josh Saunders Re-Ups


Just minutes ago, NYCFC announced that they had come to terms with goalkeeper Josh Saunders on a contract extension:
New York City FC signs Josh Saunders to New Contract

December 17, 2015
1:52 PM EST


New York City FC is pleased to announce that goalkeeper Josh Saunders has signed a new multi-year contract extension. Saunders started 33 games for the Club this season and recorded four clean sheets in New York City’s inaugural campaign. Per Club and League policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Speaking to NYCFC.com, one thing Saunders said he treasures most is the relationship and connection that he has with New York City FC’s fans.

“I love playing for this club”, said Saunders. “It’s a great honor for me and I’m definitely looking forward to playing in front of our fans again next season. I think the bond with the supporters is great. It’s not just an emotional connection. It helps the players and the fans alike because when you come into our stadium it’s intimidating. Having them truly cheer for people that they care for is great. The team is excited to get back to training soon and begin the hard work and preparation for next season.”

Saunders, who led Major League Soccer with 124 saves and was named New York City FC Defensive Player of the Year, credits goalkeeping coach Rob Vartughian for helping him to a successful first season in New York.

“Rob helped me tremendously. He put in a lot of work with me early on in the year and his work showed in my performances. I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done and I look forward to working with him again.”

Sporting Director Claudio Reyna also expressed delight at re-signing the goalkeeper, “Retaining Josh was always part of our offseason plans. He is a tremendous leader and displays all of the personal and professional qualities we look for in a New York City FC player. He had a great season last year and clearly has a special relationship with our supporters.”

Echoing those comments, incoming Head Coach, Patrick Vieira, is thrilled about the extension.

“I’m delighted that Josh has signed a new deal with the Club and am really looking forward to working with him next season,” said Vieria. “He is a fantastic professional and is very experienced in this league; he will be an important leader for us both on the pitch and in the locker room.”

Looking forward to next season, Saunders said, “I’d like to have even better performances. Everyone said I had a good season, but I’m critical of myself. I feel like I let in too many goals. I take that personally, so I look at every angle to get better. I also think having MLS veterans is hugely important because we know the demands and rigors of the league. We can sit down and relay that information to the younger players on the roster, it only helps in the long run.”

Josh Saunders was nominated for Major League Soccer’s “Save of the Week” 11 times during the 2015 season and won New York City FC’s Etihad Airways Player of the Month on three separate occasions (March, April and October).
"Per Club and League policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed." How I hate that phrase.

I'm glad to see this, though. He kept us in many games, especially some of those early ones. And without a whole lot of help in the back.

Here are some of his highlights from 2015:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NYCFC Acquires Ethan White from Philadelphia

We have a new defender: Ethan White, acquired from the Philadelphia Union.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC has announced today the acquisition of defender Ethan White from Philadelphia Union. In return New York City FC will send Philadelphia it’s natural 2017 fourth-round SuperDraft pick.

A 24-year-old native of Kensington, Md, the central defender played for Maryland University and was part of the US U-18 and U-20 player pools before signing a Homegrown Player contract with D.C. United in 2010. White would go on to make 38 appearances for DC, including a start in the 2013 Lamar Hunt Open Cup final that D.C. United won.

White then moved to the Philadelphia Union where he made 26 appearances after being acquired in January 2014 via trade.

White said, “I’m really pleased. It’s a great opportunity for me to join an exciting club that's looking to do big things. I’m very happy to be a part of this and I am determined to help the club achieve success. I'm already looking forward to joining my new teammates for pre-season”

Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “We are excited to add an athletic and experienced center-half in Ethan White to our roster. He is a young player and we are looking forward to working with him and developing his game even further.”
You can learn more about White from his player page on MLSsoccer.com.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DC United Badge Leaked? (UPDATED)

We've known for a while that DC United was getting a new badge, and here it is:


It was leaked by the MLS online shop as they prepare to start selling stuff.


The badge is a huge improvement over their current badge (right), not to mention their 1994-96 badge (left):


This one keeps a clear visual link with its forebearer. For my own part, I would have redesigned the eagle; I prefer the sharper wings in this supposed "draft" leak, seen about a month ago:


Congrats to our friends down in DC. I look forward to seeing it all over the place on my next trip to RFK.



UPDATE: Confirmed.


I'm always interested in seeing how teams handle this process.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Grabavoy a Free Agent

Thje evolution of Major League Soccer continues, as the first-ever class of free agents has been announced. NYCFC has only one eligible player: midfielder Ned Grabavoy.


From the league's press release:
Major League Soccer announced its first-ever class of free agents on Monday eligible to negotiate new contracts with any of the league’s 20 clubs beginning on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed to earlier this year, players who were either out of contract or didn’t have their option picked up following the 2015 season and are at least 28 years old and have a minimum of eight years of service in MLS are eligible for free agency. Clubs will be allowed to start negotiating with free agents at 1 pm ET on Tuesday.

The full list players eligible for free agency (previous team listed):
GK Jon Busch (Chicago Fire)
GK Troy Perkins (Seattle Sounders)
GK Kyle Reynish (New York Red Bulls)
GK Andrew Weber (Portland Timbers)

DF Corey Ashe (Orlando City SC)
DF Bobby Burling (Colorado Rapids)
DF Ty Harden (Chicago Fire)
DF Michael Harrington (Colorado Rapids)
DF Stephen Keel (FC Dallas)
DF Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids)
DF James Riley (Colorado Rapids)

MF Eric Avila (Orlando City SC)
MF Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union)
MF Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo)
MF Ned Grabavoy (New York City FC)
MF Nick LaBrocca (Colorado Rapids)
MF Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire)
MF Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact)
MF Paulo Nagamura (Sporting Kansas City)
MF Khari Stephenson (San Jose Earthquakes)
MF Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo)

FW Chad Barrett (Seattle Sounders)
FW Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
FW Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union)
FW Kenny Cooper (Montreal Impact)
FW Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy)
FW Mike Magee (Chicago Fire)

Monday, December 7, 2015

City Voice Poll: Relocation?

There's an interesting poll up on City Voice right now:


That seems like a high number of seat moves, and I wonder how much of that is determined by Yankee Stadium. We didn't know what an MLS game would be like there, but now we've all had seventeen games to experiment, check out other sections and see where we really want to be.

I also suspect there are some people who chose seats near the supporters' section and now wish they hadn't, but more who stayed away and wished they were in the thick of it.

For my own part, I moved my seats and upped my season tickets from two to three.

No word yet on how renewals are going. NYCFC sold 20,000 season tickets for their inaugural campaign; they need to be targeting at least that many in the sophomore season.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tim-bers!


The Portland Timbers are the MLS Cup Champions for 2015.


The game got off to a quick start with Diego Valeri scoring in the first minute on an awful goalkeeping error:


It reminded me of Steve Hunt's goal for the Cosmos in the 1977 Soccer Bowl:



Plenty of highlights in this game — the Timbers were unlucky to only score twice — and one distinctly ugly moment following the second goal, as Columbus fans pelted the Timbers players with beer cans.


Congrats to the Timbers Army. Great supporters, they deserve this and more. Looking forward to seeing them again in the Bronx, where we'll be able to give them a better game than last time.

Friday, December 4, 2015

2016 Match Ball Leaked

I haven't seen an announcement, but it appears that the 2016 match ball has been leaked by the MLS online store.


They're continuing the star/maple leaf graphics.


Check it out here: http://www.mlsstore.com/catalog/product/MLS_adidas_Orange_2016_OMB_Soccer_Ball

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saunders to Man City?


Well, this is interesting. According to the Sun, Man City is looking at Josh Saunders.
MANCHESTER CITY are bringing in New York City keeper Josh Saunders for a month to have a look at him. Saunders, 34, was one of the success stories of a hard first season for the new MLS outfit, which is owned by City. He did enough to earn an extended review by Manuel Pellegrini’s club. The Puerto Rico international could be offered the chance to become a back-up keeper at the Etihad. And he will benefit from working with Joe Hart while he is over.
Good opportunity for Josh, although I'd rather keep our players here to work with Vieira.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fansided: "NYCFC Will Become American Arsenal"


Fansided's Arsenal blog Pain in the Arsenal has an interesting take on the Vieira hire.
Patrick Vieira's NYCFC Will Become American Arsenal

By Josh Sippie

Patrick Vieira has crossed the big Atlantic pond to assume the duties of manager of New York City Football Club. NYCFC is loaded with talent and they were a major disappointment to have missed the MLS playoffs. With the likes of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, a little time may solve everything.

But so, too, could a new look.

Patrick Vieira has been working within the Manchester City system since he retired from football. He is staying in that system by moving to their sister club, NYCFC. But that does not mean that Vieira has turned baby blue on us.

“I think the one who really inspired me was Arsene Wenger because of the number years I spent with him at Arsenal,” Patrick Vieira said, as quoted by InsideFutbol.

While we don’t want to read into his statements too much, it is rather obvious that in terms of coaching, we are going to see a lot of Arsene Wenger coming out in Patrick Vieira. That is who Vieira played over 400 matches for. That style of play and management is built into his internal wiring. But it is a successful style of play and management.

NYCFC has the tools to enact a similar style. They have the pass master in Andrea Pirlo. They have the running striker in David Villa, they have plenty of wild card attackers like Poku and Khiry Shelton. The midfield is bolstered by Frank Lampard. This is a team with quality, they just need unity and a direction. And a defense. But that is a topic for another blog. No one brings out a spirit of team unity like Arsene Wenger. Good thing his protege will be taking over a team in need of unity.

Patrick Vieira was the heart and spine of Arsenal’s Invincible squad that went on to find so much success. He has been in the trenches as the team captain, knowing full well what has to be done to establish consistent success. He witnessed it for nine years and he is still seeing it today. Arsenal is what prolonged success looks like. That is the kind of thing that Patrick Vieira is going to try to build for NYCFC.

They have the foundation, as mentioned. They have youth, experience and flare. Patrick Vieira can bring that unity out of them and build a lasting legacy at the club. There is no one better to model something like that after than Arsene Wenger. Patrick Vieira also cited inspirations like Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello, but the predominant voice in his head is going to be the deep, French-accented, Terminator-like voice of Arsene Wenger. And that is going to benefit NYCFC immensely.

Although, he better do it soon because once Arsene Wenger retires, Arsenal is stealing Patrick Vieira back to the Emirates.
He's pretty bullish on NYCFC's upside; I'm a little more skeptical. But if Vieira can do anything like this in New York, it's going to be amazing to watch.

Friday, November 13, 2015

More on the MCFC Badge Consultation

I'm watching with interest as Man City continues its badge re-design process, to see what we can learn about City Football Group.

They've set up a "consultation space" outside the stadium, where Cityzens, fans, and members of the supporters groups can make their voices heard.


Lots of emphasis on the old badge. Lends weight to the thought that they might be going back to an older design, if possibly updated.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ESPN: "The Turf War"

ESPN is running, as part of its E:60 series of short films, a report that all fans of the sport should see.



There appears to be a link between crumb rubber (those sticky black pellets used on artificial turf) and cancer in soccer players, especially goalkeepers.

Watch it. Now.

I'm very glad that my kids only play on grass. We know that concussions and sub-concussive hits from headers can potentially cause health problems, but it looks as though the turf we've used to grow the game across the nation could also pose its own risk to the sport.

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Vieira!

Getty Images

It's official - Patrick Vieira has been named the new head coach of New York City FC. We had discussed the possibility on the most recent "From the Factory Floor" podcast and I had thought him a pretty good potential hire.

From the press release:
Patrick Vieira appointed as New York City FC Head Coach

November 9, 2015
10:30 AM EST


New York City Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Patrick Vieira as the new head coach. Vieira has signed a three-year contract with the Club and takes up his role on 1 January 2016 in advance of pre-season for its second MLS campaign.

Patrick joins New York City FC from his role as head coach of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City Football Club, a position he took up following retirement from an unrivalled playing career that saw him compete at the highest level in Italy, the UK and his native France. He captained the French National team and was part of their World Cup winning side in 1998. Alongside a World Cup winners’ medal, his playing honors include a UEFA European Championship with France and at Club level, three English Premier League titles, five FA Cup titles and three Serie A titles.

Vieira, who is known for his leadership and motivational skills at the highest senior level, also has extensive experience developing youth talent. His Elite Development Squad has secured a Premier League International Cup under his leadership and is currently top of its group in the UEFA Youth League.

Patrick will travel to New York tomorrow to meet his playing squad and to spend time with Sporting Director Claudio Reyna and Goalkeeping coach Rob Vartughian.

Details of the wider coaching team will be announced in due course.

Speaking of the appointment, New York City FC President Tom Glick said,

“The open position of head coach at New York City FC has prompted significant interest and I have no doubt that in Patrick, we have one of the most impressive young coaches I have encountered. Patrick’s ability, vision and the respect in which he is held by everyone who works with him, speaks volumes for his character and capacity to succeed. I am excited to work with him and I know the energy he will bring to the role will have a hugely positive impact across the Club.”

Echoing these thoughts, Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said,

“Patrick was a legendary player and has all the characteristics required to make a fantastic Head Coach. His exemplary drive, passion and dedication have always marked him out as a rare talent and all of those qualities, alongside his understanding of the game, make him a natural choice.

Patrick is a natural born leader. He has played under some of the best managers in the world and experienced different leagues and playing styles, enjoying success everywhere he has been. We believe he can bring that knowledge and experience to take New York City FC forward in MLS. We are looking forward to him joining us in the coming weeks.”

Talking of his new role, Patrick Vieira said,

“I am delighted to take up the role of Head Coach of New York City FC. To work with this squad, with Claudio Reyna and Rob Vartughian and the fantastic support team that is in place, is an exciting prospect for any coach.

This established football set up, together with a passionate and loyal fan base, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands. I cannot wait to get started.”
Obviously, as a Gooner from way back I'll always remember him in red and white, especially as the captain of the "Invincibles" in 2003–04. I'm excited to see him here.

From Vieira's perspective, this looks like a no-brainer; if he succeeds then he'll be hailed as a hero of soccer in this country and will have his pick of managerial jobs and if he fails then the blame will most likely fall on City Football Group or MLS in general.

I respect what Vieira has been doing since hanging up his boots; building his coaching career from the ground up. He's been steeped in City Football Group's philosophy, whatever that is, and we'll see what he can bring to the touchline.

At the very least, he's familiar with world-class football and what it takes to win.


Hopefully we'll get to see him raise the MLS Cup.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sports Business Journal Interview: Tom Glick

Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal has an interview with NYCFC's team president. This was originally published before the firing of Jason Kries, and while it might have been an interesting bit of fluff before it seems positively inconsequential now.

We have clubs in New York, Manchester, Yokohama and Melbourne, but we have offices in nine locations. … You just learn to use your smartphone to see what time it is in all these places and if it’s an acceptable time to call.

What we knew is that New York has more soccer fans than any other city in the country, so this is all about creating a club for New Yorkers with New Yorkers, a real sense of belonging.

We’re averaging 30,000 fans. We just sold our 19,000th season ticket, well ahead of our plan, which was to sell 17,000.


Photo by: PATRICK E. MCCARTHY
The atmosphere at Yankee Stadium is maybe the best surprise. An authentic, organic soccer experience, and it’s a real distinctive atmosphere in New York sports.

The English Premier League is the best and most important league in the world. I think it’s hard to argue otherwise.

The revenues, the global viewership, the talent … it’s … continuing to now put some space between itself and the other leagues, so it’s exciting to be part of that, something that is truly global and being viewed in all parts of the world at all times.

This was a bet on the city of New York as well as on soccer in the U.S., but specifically on Major League Soccer’s model as a league. We’re convinced that the growth will continue to be steady, and may even accelerate.

Startups are a lot of fun.

I have been blessed to be part of a few startups and stadium builds in minor league baseball. We built a stadium in Lansing, Mich., in 1996, [and the] city of Sacramento in 2000, and had new clubs arrive. They’re incredibly fun times, intense and fast paced.

It’s completely different than Manchester City, a 130-year-old team that is now on a very exciting journey these last seven years — the fastest-growing club over those seven years — but this is a brand-new team.

The sport of soccer is unique, and maybe a bit more similar to ice hockey here in the States in terms of the undivided attention that it commands amongst its fans.

The thing you will notice if you’ve been to a game in Europe [is] no one wants to say hello, to be thanked for coming, to be asked how things are going, no matter how friendly you are while the game is going on, because the game is so important. So for 90 minutes, it is commanding everyone’s attention.

In the States we are more commercial, and I think that’s OK.

It’s OK to be more commercial, because ultimately the business of sports and entertainment continues to grow.

These sorts of American sports management commercial techniques are being spread around the globe, but there are also great ideas in Europe, in Asia, in the U.K. that are also coming the other way.

If I reflect on what’s been important to me and the organizations I’ve worked for, it’s probably two things. The first is having a great upline. Really being conscious of the organization that you’re joining and the people or the person who is your upline and who you will learn from and get advice.

I’ve been really fortunate to have people like Tom Dickson and Sherry Myers in Lansing, Mich., to Art Savage in Sacramento, Scott O’Neil when I was at the NBA, and now I have a great upline here in Ferran Soriano. Just really bright, strategic, analytical, creative leaders, marketers and managers.

The second is having great people in my teams, and this is certainly one of the things in terms of leadership that I focus on: building teams, building teams with great people.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about working with City Football Group [is] just the personal and professional adventure of doing business in Shanghai, Tokyo, Melbourne, Jakarta, Paris, Los Angeles, New York. It’s the global aspect of being relevant and meeting people around the world.

Being able to reflect that in our team, including in terms of having people from so many cultural backgrounds, allows us to not only relate better, but to have better solutions.

What is happening around the sport of soccer in China is fascinating right now. There is a top-down commitment, an ambitious commitment, to the sport.

Everything that is being done in creating and distributing more content around the life of an athlete, a club or a sport is fascinating.

We’re always trying to think of ways to get things in the hands of the consumers, whether it’s someone taking a taxicab across town or the subway, or on a flight on their handheld.

Tend to still be a nut for a ballpark, so it’s always exciting to see the innovations when there are new stadiums, or in renovations like we’ve seen with the Dolphins and Patriots.

My recipe on the New York to Manchester or London flight is to eat at the airport. No dinner, no drinks, no movie and get your head right down. … Just be in denial about the jet lag.

Just had a few days down in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, so I got through a couple of rounds of golf and a couple of good books.

I enjoy a bit of running, and watching live sports, which allows me to switch off a bit. I get too wound up at our games.
All well and good. Now find us a coach.

Friday, November 6, 2015

From the Factory Floor: "Until Next Year"

I was honored to join the From the Factory Floor podcast for the NYCFC season-review show.

Not surprisingly, we talk about the decision to fire Coach Kreis. I hadn't really considered the season a failure until the club fired him. It's an expansion franchise that garnered 20,000 season ticket holders and began to make Major League Soccer a real force in this city.

Listen to the podcast on their site.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Where Have We Seen That Badge Before?

Yesterday, the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) announced its newest club = Memphis City FC.


Hmm. That badge looks very familiar. Where have I seen that before?


Huh. Would you look at that.

Let's stop the animation for a moment and superimpose the NYCFC badge on top of the Memphis badge at 50% transparency.


They didn't even bother to disguise it very much; the rings are all the same, from the dark/orange/dark along the outside to the innermost white ring. In addition, the "FOOTBALL CLUB" text along the bottom is identical. Whoever "designed" the Memphis City version obviously used the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop to change a couple colors, slapped their own MCFC monogram over the NYCFC, and swapped out the upper ring of text and pyramids for New York's pentagons. Really sloppy job.

Now, it's not uncommon for one designer to be inspired by the work of another. But this sure looks to be a direct lift, in which they took the NYCFC crest and made some simple changes. There's a common misconception that if you take somebody else's intellectual property, like a logo, and change it 20% or 25% or 30% or whatever the resulting design is your property. That is utterly false; no amount of changes can make somebody else's IP magically become yours. This is why many professional designers are so careful about their research and influences, as even inadvertent lifts can prevent them from registering their own work. And there's nothing inadvertent about this one, from the circles to the "FOOTBALL CLUB" along the bottom.

We'll see what reaction we get from NYCFC. The NPSL is a combination amateur/semi-pro league, in the fourth tier of the US Soccer pyramid. Copyright law, however, usually requires owners to enforce their legal protections in every case or lose them altogether.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kreis Out!

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

NYCFC has fired head coach Jason Kreis after just one season.

Here's the statement from the club:
New York City Football Club can confirm that they have parted company with Head Coach Jason Kreis. The announcement comes following a review conducted at the end of a disappointing campaign. The decision has also been made for Miles Joseph and CJ Brown to leave the Club.

Prior to the start of the season, it was agreed with the coaching team that the securing of a playoff place was an appropriate target for this year. A win rate of less than one in three games and a points tally which was the second lowest in the league is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed.

While the challenges of building and integrating a new team are recognized, it was felt by the Board, following a comprehensive review, that there was not enough evidence of the dynamics required to improve the performance of the team for the next season and beyond.

Speaking of the decision, New York City FC President Tom Glick, said:

“The decision to part company with Jason and his team after two years of working together has not been taken lightly and this is a difficult announcement for all involved.

We thank Jason for his passion, his efforts and for his contribution to the historic inaugural season of New York City FC. Many memories of this first season will be indelibly etched in the minds of all involved with the Club and Jason and his team have played a huge part in that.

We wish him all the very best in what will undoubtedly be a continued successful career in soccer management.”

The Club is committed to ensuring that a suitable candidate is in place in good time to prepare for the 2016 season and an announcement will be made when a candidate is confirmed.
Just as an aside, can this club please find some somebody to write these press releases in American English? You're in New York now, boys and girls. It's long since time.

I do appreciate that the club isn't satisfied with the results on the pitch. Nobody's satisfied with the results on the pitch. But expansion franchises aren't known for hitting the ground running. We can't have expected this club to pull a Seattle Sounders and win a trophy in their first season; they had fifteen years of infrastructure-building before joining MLS.

I myself have been critical of Kreis over the past few months, his tendency to play his men out of position and his unwillingness to stick with anything long enough to gel. But he hasn't had a full squad for more than a couple months. Hell, City Football Group took away one of his DPs for the first half of the season, and now they're holding him responsible for the results.

The obvious question is: who will they find to replace him? Will they find somebody else steeped in MLS, or look for a big-name European coach?

I've defended this club through its mistakes and missteps because I've chosen to take the long view. Building a true soccer culture in NYC, a true MLS culture, will take time. For the first time, I think the club has lost that perspective. And it bothers me.



UPDATE:  Coach Kreis has issued a statement on Twitter:


A class act all the way. Thank you, coach.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fusion: "Stadium Search Reveals a Pattern of Clumsiness and Community Indifference"

Fusion's Elliott Turner has an interesting take on the ongoing stadium drama.

New York City FC’s stadium search reveals a pattern of clumsiness and community indifference

by Elliott Turner

Major League Soccer coveting a soccer-specific stadium in New York City predates NYCFC’s inaugural 2015 season. Yet despite four years of intense lobbying and proposals, it’s still a pipe dream. Fans rightly wonder who is to blame. The easy answer, as always, is New York City politics. The harder answer, however, requires a tougher look at the strategies utilized to get a stadium deal done. Or, rather, not done.

I sent information requests to key city officials and reviewed public records to get the best glimpse possible of that strategy. The picture is not exactly pretty.

For years, MLS talked about a team in New York City proper. However, things got serious in April of 2012, when the league met with the Hudson River Park Trustees to discuss a potential soccer-specific stadium at Manhattan’s Pier 40. Talks progressed and, two months later, the Hudson River Park Trust and Park Advisory Council sanctioned a public meeting to discuss the proposal.

At the time, MLS lacked a specific stadium design and prepared for a hostile reception. The expectation of hostility was likely related, in part, to resident concerns. Deborah Glick, the state assemblywoman from the pier’s district, framed her constituents’ main overarching concern: “Open space in New York City is the most valuable commodity we have.”
Soccer executives have long been batting eyes at Pier 40, on Manhattan's West Side. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Cesar Diaz attended and reported on the meeting for US Soccer Players. From the onset, he notes, Pier 40 had several problems. The Hudson River Park Trust, the legal entity responsible for maintaining the park and pier, needed over a $100 million in repairs and had only $25 million in reserves (and an anemic annual income). Given that backdrop, nobody was surprised the meeting went poorly. Further complicating matters, MLS’s proposal was not legal as per the terms of the Trust. Lastly, lots of folks voiced concerns about the MLS stadium, but few actually spoke up in favor of the idea.

Despite all this, Hudson River Park graciously agreed to host an MLS All-Star event in July 2012. Yet that same month, MLS ditched the Pier 40 idea. It had a new plan: build a soccer stadium on top of already existing soccer fields in Queens. Ten months later, MLS announced that the league would be adding NYCFC, a team backed by wealthy owners from the Middle East and the New York Yankees’ ownership group. Two months later, the Queens plan got dumped. Again, legal issues tainted the proposal. Turns out, to build a stadium on a public park, one needs the state legislature’s approval.

NYCFC quickly pivoted and set its sights on a Bronx location. Politically, then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was warm to the proposal (and the $100 million in tax breaks), even if the president of the New York City Council was anti-sports stadium subsidies.

In January 2014, a Bronx town hall meeting was announced. Neil deMause, proprietor of Field of Schemes, a blog that closely scrutinizes stadium finance deals all over the U.S., attended the meeting. deMause noted that NYCFC pulled out all the stops, including getting its partner, the New York Yankees, to bring union construction workers and youth sports players to appear and speak in support of the proposal. But the plan backfired when a resident noted that the amorphous “community benefits agreement” that was part of the new Yankees stadium deal had resulted in diddly squat for locals.

The best aspect of the Bronx plan was the site. No constituent was going to cry over a 1970s-era Yankees parking garage. However, demolishing the parking garage raised a different issue: debt. As part of the Bronx stadium proposal, NYCFC asked the city to forgive all debt (and future rent payments) on Yankees parking garages, including the Bronx site. For over a decade, the near-bankrupt Yankees parking garage in the Bronx had failed to pay its annual $3.2 million in rent. To no one’s surprise, newly elected NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t seem pleased with the plan. His spokeswoman, Lis Smith, told the New York Times:
“We have real concerns about investing scarce public resources and forgoing revenue to support the creation of an arena for a team co-owned by one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, and will review any plan with that in mind.”
Things weren’t looking good for NYCFC. No Manhattan. No Queens. No Bronx. Did NYCFC turn its attention to a location in Staten Island or Brooklyn? Was it going to borough-hop yet again? Nope. Instead, the Times broke a story on April 29, 2015, that NYCFC was considering a stadium on land owned by Columbia University that was being used as an athletic complex. This is where things get really weird.


I sent public information requests to the Mayor’s Office, the Manhattan Borough President, and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents the Manhattan district containing Columbia University and the proposed stadium. I asked for all emails and written documents related to the NYCFC proposed stadium in an effort to learn more about the proposed Columbia location. Based on past stadium stories I’ve covered, a paper trail always exists, especially if a stadium deal is close to fruition or at least being taken seriously.

The Mayor’s Office repeatedly delayed responding to the information requests and, to date, hasn’t turned over any documents. Since I filed the requests in July, they have insisted on extensions just to give an initial response—three times.

Councilman Rodriguez, however, turned over 140-plus pages of documents. His immediate statement to the leaked story was not positive: “The news…about a possible new soccer stadium in the Inwood section…is deeply troubling.” And then came the kicker: “Any group with a real intention to develop any possible project should should start by engaging the surrounding community that will be directly impacted by the proposal and its elected leaders.”

The Columbia location’s value to NYCFC was fairly obvious: the site already had a stadium and a property tax exemption. However, as deMause noted, the cost of tearing down a 17,000-seat Columbia stadium and building a new one would raise the price tag to $100 million more than any other MLS stadium.

In addition to the cost issues, records showed that Councilman Rodriguez’s office received a wave of complaints from residents immediately after the Times story broke. Locals were not warm to the idea. In fact, they hated it. Rodriguez’s email was flooded with residents complaining about the potential traffic. More serious, though, was a letter sent from Park Terrace Gardens’ legal counsel, dated June 1, 2015. In that letter, counsel noted that Columbia’s Wien Stadium was approved under New York City zoning law as residential “R7-2.” That would have to change for the stadium project to move forward. Again, that thorny issue of “legality” either had not entered the equation when considering the stadium site or, perhaps naively, was considered an issue that could be handled at a later date.

Rodriguez’s office also turned over emails from members of the Manhattan Community Board. Most were angry. One member demanded that any stadium only hire locally. Another doubted that MLS could compensate for any “interruptions and inconveniences.” Also, notably, nobody from NYCFC bothered to contact Councilman Rodriguez or the Community board about the stadium either before or immediately after the story broke.
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: A view of of Yankee Stadium as the New York City FC take on the New England Revolution in the first half during the inaugural game of the New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on March 15, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Unfortunately, sending open records requests to MLS or NYCFC or Columbia University is a non-starter because they are private entities, and private entities are under no obligation to respond to such requests. MLS has always politely declined to comment on past stadium stories. However, an NYCFC official agreed to speak with me on condition of anonymity. According to the official, there really wasn’t much breaking news on the stadium front. The club is committed to staying in New York City and looking at various sites. All the necessary transportation and public transit ducks have to line up just right. The club, the official added, is in talks with local politicians, including the Mayor’s office and possible partners, but has been pretty happy with the first year at Yankee stadium.

Basically, NYCFC is viewing things long-term and wants to be sure it gets the right site for a dope stadium. Fair enough. But the stadium search has also revealed a troubling pattern. First, NYCFC picks a site regardless of those pesky things called “laws.” Building on green space or in a residential area will require New York state or City Council approval, which is tough when you assume NYCFC will probably also be asking for some sales or property tax breaks. Only the Yankees parking garage idea, as proposed, could have been done legally.

Second, NYCFC (and MLS) selects a site with serious financial questions. Hudson Park and the Yankees parking garage were seriously distressed properties. Columbia University is obviously doing fine, but demolition costs would have been astronomical.

Third and most frustratingly, NYCFC (and MLS) has either been slow to engage the local community or left the game with cards on the table when things got tough. They participated in community town halls for the Pier 40 and Yankees parking garage pitches, but then refused to sweeten the pot with more community benefits after residents and local politicos raised concerns.

If NYCFC had countered back to the newly-elected Mayor de Blasio by asking for less Yankees parking garage debt forgiveness or handing over more community benefits, would a stadium have happened? Maybe. Maybe not. But we’ll never know because that second offer, at least publicly, never was on the table.

Like all new clubs, NYCFC faces an inertia dilemma. It lacks the history and fan base to put much weight behind the push for a public place to build a home in New York City. Also, given the club name, NYCFC needs a stadium in New York proper. It probably can’t threaten a move to elsewhere, like former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, to coax a sweet deal. From the outside, it looks like the club is hopping between boroughs to try and get the best deal. However, the Manhattan community board emails show that it’s a questionable strategy, considering members insist on tangible community benefits and urge one another to stay strong like other boroughs.
Orlando City SC's new stadium is slated to be up and running and bleeding purple in 2016.
New York City soccer fans must look at a club like Orlando City SC with jealousy. In July of this year, Orlando City and the City of Orlando joined forces and will build a lovely downtown stadium. The cost will be around $155 million and the project is expected to take 14 months to complete. Keep in mind that Orlando City has only played in Orlando for five years (after relocating from Austin) and been in MLS for one. If the City of Orlando can get things done, then why not New York? New York’s annual budget is $66 billion dollars. How can a few hundred million in tax subsidies for a stadium hold things up?

The answer is simple: because it can. New York City knows its value and worth, and drives a hard bargain with all businesses. Space is also at a premium. Folks enjoying the new Yankees stadium forget about the two decades of threats and negotiations with the Mayor’s office. Twice, the Yankees almost moved to New Jersey but were eventually talked down by the legislature and a defeated referendum to curb proposed subsidies. If the wealthy and legendary Yankees needed twenty years to clinch a deal, NYCFC should not expect the perfect site to fall in its lap on any sort of expedited timetable.

Still, that’s no excuse for a flawed strategy. NYCFC needs to get serious about engaging the community. Right now, NYCFC makes a proposal, politicians raise concerns, and they walk. The time has come for NYCFC to stop searching for distressed properties, properly assess the legality of any proposal beforehand, and offer a nice community benefits deal similar to those offered by the Brooklyn Nets and Yankees. If NYCFC’s wealthy owners—who also own Manchester City—could afford to pay Yaya Toure a couple hundred thousand pounds per week, surely they can sweeten the pot.

For now, fans need to get used to the sight lines at Yankee Stadium. Remember, DC United won plenty of MLS Cups while languishing in a decrepit RFK stadium that was never intended to house soccer. The Washington political machine is just now grinding out a deal to move United into new, shiny digs. A successful team does not assure a stadium. Not even designated player power can do that. Until NYCFC tightens its act, the failed proposal list will keep growing. Pier 40. Flushing Meadows Park. The Aqueduct Racetrack. Wien Stadium. We may soon lose count. And fans will likely start to lose patience sooner rather than later.
That's as good a summary of the situation so far as I've read, with a few caveats.

We've seen that there was a rough plan for a soccer-specific stadium on Pier 40, although I don't know how formed that plan was when the initial meetings were held.

He's stretching a but with his list of failures. I'm not inclined to hold NYCFC responsible for the failure to strike a deal for either Pier 40 or Flushing Meadows, as those predate the expansion announcement. Similarly, the Aqueduct plan doesn't ever appear to have been serious.

That's not to say that the club has done its job. They obviously haven't, and need to be held responsible for the collapse of the Bronx deal. I've heard two explanations for the parking garage owners' refusal to sell; they either felt too set in their ways to move the business, or they googled "Sheikh Mansour" and kept holding out for increasingly outrageous sums of money. Regardless, it was a nearly-perfect solution and should have happened.

For what it's worth, I've long suspected that the stadium shambles was behind Tim Pernetti's ouster. Here's hoping that Tom Glick can succeed where he failed.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Put It In the Books


And with that, we're done for the year. With a 3-1 loss at home to New England, New York City's inaugural season is over.

What a year it's been. Not as successful on the pitch as we all would have hoped, but everything else has been a resounding success. 20,000 season ticket holders. Nearly 2,000 Third Rail members. We've shown that New York is a soccer town through and through, and MLS will never be the same.

I am proud of everyone who's been a part of this amazing season, from the die-hards who traveled across the country to the Third Rail members who showed up to help paint the tifo, to the parents who brought their kids to their first soccer match. And I'm especially proud to have been a small part of it myself.

Come next season, I'll be in Yankee Stadium with my kids, cheering on our boys in blue. I hope to see you there.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Manchester City to Change Badge?

Over in Manchester, our sister club has announced that they are considering changing their badge.

City's two previous badges (left and centre) and the current one

The Manchester Evening News has the story:
Manchester City are set to resolve the battle over their badge once and for all … by asking the fans to have their say.

For years supporters have argued on and off over the merits of the three designs which the team has worn on their chests – and some still hanker after a return to the circular badge from the 1960s.

But City are now entering into a four-week consultation process to gauge the views of fans, as to what symbol want to represent the club.

The current badge was adopted in 1997 because the previous one was ineligible for registration as a trademark.

Aware of the sensitivity surrounding a heritage issue, City have stressed that any change, if there is a change, will be influenced by the fans themselves.
Good to hear. I'm glad they've been consulting with the supporters. In a way, City Football Group started that when they held the NYCFC badge vote back in early 2014.

It is widely presumed that MCFC will return to one of their old roundel-style designs, with some changes made so they can register the design.

Naturally, fans and designers are having a field day creating concept designs. I'm partial to this one from Reddit (designer unidentified):


It would certainly fit with the badges for New York and Melbourne.

 

How much fun would it be if Rafael Esquer's amazing design set the visual precedent for one of the biggest clubs in the world?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Glick "On the Way Out"?

Well, this could be interesting....

Photo: Press Association via AP Images
Source: Top New York City F.C. executive Tom Glick on the way out

by KRISTIAN DYER

It hasn't been the dream season that New York City F.C. envisioned, far from it from the MLS debutantes who have struggled on the field and look like they won't make the playoffs. And now the club is set to lose the man atop the organization who is likely heading back to England.

Tom Glick, the team's president, will be leaving the expansion side - a source from the league office tells Metro. Hired after New York City F.C.'s first president, Tim Pernetti, left in January, Glick is going to head back to a role with Manchester City, the source said.

The franchise has hired noted headhunter firm Korn Ferry to take the lead in the search for a new chief executive. The league source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that "they are down the road with the search process."

One candidate has emerged, the source said, who has strong European ties, which would obviously appeal to Manchester City Football Club - the owner of New York City F.C.

Korn Ferry has been utilized in numerous high-profile executive searches for sports teams, including the hire of John Idzik several years ago by the New York Jets.

Off the field, the expansion side has enjoyed notable success at the gate in their inaugural year, averaging 28,695 to Yankee Stadium - the third best attendance average in the league. But on the field, success and turmoil with the infusion of key signings that don't mesh with head coach Jason Kreis' style have led to a season of frustration on the pitch.

The team also has made little progress on the hunt for a new stadium.
That last line might say it all. I've long thought that Pernetti was shown the door after he failed to make any headway on the stadium situation, and there's no indication that Glick has been able to do any better during his brief spell in charge.

What I don't like is the notion that City Football Group will bring someone in from overseas. Give us somebody steeped in if not New York, then at least MLS.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

LA Galaxy: "The British Invasion"

Ahead of the clash this Sunday, the LA Galaxy has released their match poster:


Love it. We need more variety in ours.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Gear from Homage

MLS is expanding its merchandise offerings, adding the clothing company HOMAGE (and yes, they insist on the all-caps).


HOMAGE is based in Columbus, so they've been making inlucensed black-and-gold Crew shirts for the past several years.

They've also worked with the supporters' group for the past few years, but only recently secured a license to produce MLS shirts.

The quality of their stuff is great - I own a great orange-and-blue "NYC" shirt they put out a couple years ago, have been hoping they'd recolor it in our double-blues.

For now, their offerings appear to be limited to a blue tshirt with the slogan "FIVE BOROUGHS ONE CITY" and a Ruffneck scarf.

  

We'll see what else they come up with.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Help Us, Obi-Wan. You're Our Only Hope.

Apparently we're getting to the "promotional nights" part of the season: Here's the shirt mentioned, now available from the Cityzens Rewards Store:

If you already have tickets for the September 16th match v. Toronto FC, now is your chance to snag your exclusive Star Wars tshirt.
Sports mashups with Star Wars aren't exactly new. "Star Wars Night" has been a fixture in minor league baseball parks for years, and this year Major League baseball got into the act with events all across the country.


Of course, there's plenty of merchandise to accompany them:



We'll see what NYCFC has in mind. Giveaways? Character appearances? More stuff to buy? Maybe we'll have City Beats playing the Cantina Band song at halftime.

Either way, it's fitting for a team owned partly by the Evil Empire to adopt a little stormtrooper imagery.