By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK – Future MLS expansion club New York City FC might still be working on finding a permanent home, but the same cannot be said about the team’s search for a temporary stadium.
Director of football Claudio Reyna spoke to reporters at the club’s badge unveiling in Manhattan on Wednesday night, touching on a variety of issues. Chief among the topics discussed was the team’s ongoing pursuit of stadiums for both the short and long term. Reyna said that fans can expect an announcement on a temporary venue in the near future.
“We’re close on that. We’ll soon announce where we’ll be playing,” said Reyna at the adidas Sport Performance Store before being pressed on the issue. “Within the next month. We expect to have an announcement within the next month.”
While no details were given as to where NYCFC will play during their initial years as an MLS franchise (Yankee Stadium is widely rumored), Reyna did give some insight as to where the club stands in terms of building a soccer-specific stadium.
Reyna said NYCFC are currently in the process of finalizing a location for their stadium, and insinuated that a resolution was far from being reached.
“We’re still looking, we’re talking to the city,” said Reyna. “There’s a lot of possibilities for the stadium and we’re continuing to do our job, which won’t be easy but we feel good about it. We have a team of executives that are working very hard to not only get a stadium that we’re happy with, but that is good for the city of New York as well.”
Here are some more notes from NYCFC’s badge unveiling:
KREIS, REYNA DISCUSS PLAN FOR PLAYER SIGNINGS
The hunt for a stadium might be a big talking point as far as NYCFC are concerned, but so too is the search for players.
Both Reyna and head coach Jason Kreis discussed the subject of adding players ahead of the club’s inaugural season, but neither said that signings were forthcoming. Not in the near future, anyway.
“Hopefully, if we have luck, in the summer,” said Reyna. “The problem is that we don’t have a place to play or practice. But there is the opportunity to sign some players and, if we can, send them out on loans to other clubs (until we start). We’re working hard to sign some players now, but the truth is that most of the players we sign will be in December or January.”
Kreis, who has spent the past few months in Europe, has already identified some talent within Manchester City’s pipeline.
MLS rules will allow NYCFC to acquire up to four players on loan from Manchester City, who along with the New York Yankees make up the MLS expansion club’s ownership group.
“There’s actually quite a few very interesting prospects there in Manchester City’s Under-21 team that are from various different countries, not all just from England,” said Kreis. “There’s the potential there to add some really interesting players. We really have to weigh it all out, though.
“We know at the end of the day you only have eight international signings that you can make with the rules that we have in our league, so we have to weight out whether or not that makes sense to use one of those eight on a very young, inexperienced player. Some fantastic prospects, some fantastic potential, but still unvetted, so to speak, in the professional world.”
As for potential star-caliber Designated Players NYCFC are expected to bring, neither Kreis or Reyna specifically mentioned anyone by name. Reyna, however, confirmed that New York City FC are in constant conversations about bringing players over for the start of the 2015 season.
“There’s no names that I can speak of yet, but we’re talking to many players,” said Reyna. “There’s a lot of interest to come here and play, and not just Designated Players, but players from all around the world. I’m receiving calls from players, agents every day, and we have to work our way through this process because we can’t sign every player.
“But there are some with experience, some young players, foreign-based players, who are talking about coming, and there are also American players within the league that seem interested in coming to play in our great city. We’re doing quite a bit of searching.”
KREIS LEARNING PATIENCE WHILE AWAITING 2015 DEBUT
Jason Kreis is not a patient man, but he is learning to be as a result of what will wind up being a year off from the sidelines.
Kreis has spent the past few months away from his normal head coaching duties, deployed in Europe instead to observe how some of the top clubs are run in anticipation of his New York debut. It has been undoubtedly a major learning experience for the former Real Salt Lake boss, but it has not come without its degree of hardship.
“It’s difficult. It’s very difficult,” said Kreis. “It pulls on your patience, it pulls on sort of having a large plan and not being able to make it come to fruition right away. Those are very difficult things and things that I’m not used to. I’m not a patient person. I’m sure Claudio is in the same boat. We have a plan, we have a timeline, we have a good organization in place moving things forward, so we think we’re moving in the right direction.
“We do at the end of it all need to be patient because we want to make the right decisions. We don’t want to just be signing players just because we feel like we’re in a rush because, truthfully, we’re not.”
Kreis also admitted that was “odd” to have to watch from afar as the current MLS campaign kicked off. The 41-year-old manager has been on the sidelines for every season since 2007, and sitting this year out seems strange to him.
Still, he acknowledged that he needed this respite after nearly a decade of going nonstop.
“It was one of the reasons, one of the considerations, for why I wanted to take this job and take this opportunity,” said Kreis. “(It) was a chance to step away, to get a breather, to reflect a little bit about what I’ve been doing for the past so many years. To be involved in the game at the highest level day-in and day-out can be very mentally trying and you never have a break from that.
“I’ve had my break, I’m ready to go already, but it has been difficult. When the MLS season actually started and the games started, it was really pulling on me, it was an emotional day for me last weekend.”
REYNA EXCITED ABOUT LOOMING RED BULLS RIVALRY
Lost in all the recent NYCFC shuffle has been the club’s impending rivalry with the New York Red Bulls. Reyna, however, was asked about it on Thursday and he responded with excitement towards what could be one of MLS biggest derbies.
“It’s going to be great,” said Reyna, who was at one time a member of the Red Bulls during his playing days. “The rivalries are important as you can see throughout the world. This rivalry will be great for us and for the Red Bulls as well. We expect a lot of hard-fought games, and a rivalry like that is really, really great for the fans. We’re awaiting the first game, and expecting them all to be very good.”
Happy to hear NYCFC are soon going to announce their temporary stadium plans? Who would you like to see the club (realistically) sign ahead of next season? Anxious for the start of the NYCFC-RBNY rivalry?
Share your thoughts below.