New York City FC

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NYCFC busy on Thursday with Abdul-Salaam, Stuver additions

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New York City FC is moving on from the club’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection, but they’ll be acquiring a solid defensive piece as the team continues to rebuild at the back.

[ SOURCE: LAFC finalizing deal to make Sporting CP’s Geraldes third DP ]

On Thursday, NYCFC announced a trade sending former 2015 first-round pick Khiry Shelton to Sporting KC in exchange for defender Saad Abdul-Salaam.

Shelton, who spent three seasons with NYCFC, struggled to find playing time under manager Patrick Vieira, particularly once the organization drafted England youth international Jack Harrison in 2016.

Vieira and Co. will be getting back a player also selected in the 2015 SuperDraft in Abdul-Salaam.

With the departures of Ethan White, RJ Allen and Andraz Struna this offseason, the move certainly makes sense for NYCFC, who were severely lacking at the right back position heading into this week.

NYCFC signed Malmo defender Anton Tinnerholm on Wednesday to help improve the backline.

The Eastern Conference side also added goalkeeper Brad Stuver from the Columbus Crew on Thursday, with the 26-year-old presumably serving as the backup to Sean Johnson in 2018.

NYCFC provides details of Belmont stadium proposal

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New details emerged Sunday of New York City FC’s stadium proposal at Belmont Park.

According to Newsday, NYCFC is proposing a 26,000-seat open-air stadium, a two-acre soccer facility, 400,000 square feet for retail and a 5.2 acre park. This proposal is going up against one from the New York Islanders, which calls for an ice hockey arena in addition to retail facilities.

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This same site was where the New York Cosmos made its bid for a stadium in 2013, but that bid went no where, with the proposal sitting under wraps in the New York State administration. Bids were re-opened recently and both NYCFC and the Islanders entered.

According to Front Row Soccer, the Belmont Park site, which is located on the Long Island-Queens, N.Y. border, is not the team’s dream stadium site. The team is still pursuing a site near its current home, Yankee Stadium, another site in the South Bronx, and a site in Flushing, Queens.

NYCFC cuts ties with 11 players, including Brillant & White

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Changes are afoot for many clubs within Major League Soccer, and one of the top sides in the Eastern Conference announced their preliminary plans heading into next year.

[ MORE: Toronto’s Greg Vanney named MLS Coach of the Year ]

On Monday, New York City FC revealed that it won’t bring back 11 players from its 2017 roster, including regular defensive starters, Fredrick Brillant, Ethan White and RJ Allen.

Additionally, the club opted to drop Mikey Lopez, Miguel Camargo, Shannon Gomez, Eirik Johansen, Jefferson Mena, Sean Okoli, John Stertzer and Andraz Struna from their future plans.

NYCFC did however pick up contract options on five players, though, with Ronald Matarrita, Khiry Shelton, Kwame Awuah, Ben Sweat and Andre Rawls all tabbed to return for Patrick Vieira next season.

Vieira’s side currently has 15 players under contract heading into the 2018 season, including captain David Villa, young Englishman Jack Harrison and goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Villa: Seeing Pirlo retire showed me that I have to train harder

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New York City FC has quickly become one of Major League Soccer’s most exciting clubs in three short seasons, and a lot of its success can be attributed to be David Villa.

[ MORE: Miguel Almiron named MLS Newcomer of the Year ]

The Spanish international has been with the club since completing a move to MLS in 2014, and has easily been NYCFC’s most important signing since the team’s inception.

Despite boasting an impressive 22 goals in 2017 for Patrick Vieira’s side, Villa knows that his days in MLS are starting to count down after one of the legends of the international game recently announced his retirement.

“[Seeing Andrea Pirlo retire showed me] that I have to train harder every day if I want to continue extending my career. Someday I will leave, as will everyone, it’s a fact of life. But I’m going to fight to make it as late as possible,” Villa told Marca.

Villa, 35, received a one-year extension to his contract in 2017, leaving his future with NYCFC up in the air beyond next season.

Additionally, the forward says that he constantly receives positive feedback about MLS and he knows that there is a lot of interest from players outside the United States in the developing league.

“Really, quite a few [have reached out],” he said. “The MLS is growing a lot and is having more and more global impact. Many have called me and are interested in what’s going on here.”

NYCFC’s Jack Harrison heading to the Premier League?

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Jack Harrison is said to be interesting multiple Premier League teams ahead of the January transfer window.

[ MORE: Harrison pens piece for PST ]

Harrison, 20, has starred for New York City FC in Major League Soccer during his debut two seasons in the North American top-flight and the Daily Mail reports that a trio of PL clubs are interested in signing him.

Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton are said to be the three teams interested in attacking midfielder Harrison and, of course, he wouldn’t need a work permit like most of MLS’ young stars.

His reported transfer fee of $10 million is also relatively low compared to similar young talents and he has plenty of experience in senior games at the relatively young age of 20.

Harrison left Manchester United’s academy as a youngster to attend high school in the USA at 14 years old and was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year before starring at Wake Forest in the ACC for one season. He was then drafted to NYCFC and became an instant hit in MLS, playing a key role alongside Frank Lampard and David Villa at Yankee Stadium in his debut season in 2016 (4 goals) and he scored 10 goals in 34 games for the Bronx club in 2017 to prove his progression.

In a previous chat with Pro Soccer Talk he also revealed it was his “dream” to one day return to England and play in the Premier League. Now seems like a good time to make that happen.

Recently called up for England’s U-21 side, Harrison has shown that young English players can develop successfully Stateside and still reach the PL level. Would he play at Everton, Leicester or Brighton?

Maybe the latter two, but even then he may be a bit-part player to start with. Brighton would be a great place for Harrison to hone his trade and he would also get regular minutes under Chris Hughton, a manager who is known to give youth a chance. Still, it’s a gamble, especially given the fact that he’d be a regular for many years at NYCFC under the watchful eye of Patrick Vieira.

His pace, trickery and ability to finish have seen him flourish in MLS and given the praise lavished on Harrison by Lampard, it would seem that the youngster from Stoke-on-Trent could make the step up from MLS to the PL.

Of course, it wouldn’t be great for MLS to lose one of its brightest young talents but Harrison’s story and potential journey back to the PL would surely entice more top youngsters from academies across Europe to come through the collegiate and MLS system. That can only be a good thing.