Make no mistake about it: there are big things on the way for the next big MLS team coming out of New York: New York City FC. Manager Jason Kreis believes that big things are on the way, and that the next several months are going to be telling.
“It’s going to be a whirlwind,” Kreis told MLSSoccer.com’s Andrew Wiebe. “I’ve been thinking about this now for the past two years or so. I needed a little bit of a break. I think in our profession, you can literally drive yourself insane if you’re not very careful and you don’t have the right support structure.
“For me, I kept thinking of creative ways to look for opportunities that would mean I could maybe step away for a little bit and breathe. Everything about [this opportunity] kind of fit in exactly with what I wanted for my career.”
Director of Soccer Claudio Reyna looked at other candidates to lead the charge, but it was his work at Real Salt Lake that pushed Kreis over the top.
“He was at the top of the list, and it was very clear to me when we met that he was the right person to fit the philosophy we have here,” Reyna said. “We’re just bringing him in. We don’t have to change anything. He knows what he’s doing. … It was always important to me to have first an American coach, but an American coach who specifically had a tremendous amount of knowledge of the league. Jason ticked all the boxes.”
Three designated players are already in the sights of NYCFC. Well, it’s not set in stone, but the roster is already taking form, at least according to the brains trust that is Reyna.
“The clock is ticking and we’re looking now,” Reyna told Wiebe. “We have 36 scouts within City Football Group and we started to speak with them last year already, started to make contact with them. Remember, we need to find Designated Players, but we need to find other players as well.”
“I’m quite certain that New York City FC will sign three Designated Players,” Kreis added. “I’m also quite certain that those players will be extremely well vetted, researched, talked to [in order to] make sure they’re not only the right player for this team but the right person.”
As for the stadium, a number of sites are being looked at, including one in the Bronx, but according to the CEO of NYCFC and Manchester City FC, Ferran Soriano, the club needs to keep its feet on the ground.
“I think on this we have to go back to the basics, which is: We’re looking for a home, not for a place to play,” Soriano told Wiebe. “This is very important and it drives everything that we do. A home means we want a place where we can build a building. it’s got to make commercial sense but it makes civic sense. We have to be accepted and wanted by the community.
“This is why the first thing that we do is listen,” he added. “We’ll keep on working with the city, looking at several sites. At this point, there is not complete information that we can give about any site. It’s still open.”
On the other hand, if you want to talk training facilities, that’s a whole different story.
“We are very close to making an announcement with that,” said Reyna. “We feel – Jason and I – that that’s as important [as the stadium]. When you talk to coaches and players, that’s your home. That’s where you spend all your time, and that training facility is as critical as the stadium.
“We have a couple of options that we’re exploring.”