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New York City FC adds Stuttgart mid with option to buy

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New York City FC might’ve found its dynamic box-to-box midfielder.

Ebenezer Ofori, 22, is bringing his relentless motor and eight Ghanaian caps to the Bronx from Stuttgart on a one year loan deal with an option to buy.

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Ofori joined Stuttgart from Swedish side AIK Solna in the January 2017 transfer window, and played a role in the club’s promotion to the Bundesliga. He was a signficant part of Solna’s three-round run in Europa League qualification.

But he found very little time on the pitch once Stuttgart rejoined Germany’s top flight, and is taking his talents to MLS.

Here’s NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira:

“I’m really excited to bring in Ebenezer – he’s a young player who is looking to improve, he is really dynamic and can cover ground. He’s really aggressive but he’s good with the ball too. I’m really pleased that we managed to bring him to the football club.

“He’s a competitor, he’s a guy who likes to win, he’s a strong character. He’s coming to this club to compete with the midfielders we have and, like I always say, that will bring the best out of all of the players we have at this football club.”

Ofori joins a midfield with Alexander Ring, Maxi Moralez, and Yangel Herrera. It’s a promising signing, and a name with the potential to take big steps on the club and international scene.

And moves like this are going to continue to happen for NYCFC, because players will feel the allure of being under the eye of Manchester City and the pull of becoming City property. It’s a different dynamic than Chelsea’s loanees in that young players can make their name and be a star in a gigantic world city while attempting to ingratiate themselves with one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Cherundolo makes step up to Stuttgart assistant manager

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U.S. men’s national team legend Steve Cherundolo is well on his way to landing a job as a first-team manager in Europe well before he turns 45 (maybe 40, even), after being named assistant manager at Bundesliga side Stuttgart on Tuesday.

[ MORE: USMNT draws first friendly of 2018 | Player ratings ]

The 38-year-old’s move away from Hannover, where he served as interim assistant manager in 2014 before taking the reins as the club’s U-17 coach the following season, represents not only a massive step up in import, but also a massive step outside his familiar surroundings.

Having spent his entire 16-year playing career at Hannover before immediately transitioning into a coaching role with the club, it’ll be genuinely jarring to see Cherundolo in another club’s colors — from Stuttgart’s announcement:

“Steven Cherundolo was most recently coach of the Under 17 selection from Hannover 96. The 87-time US-international was a professional in Lower Saxony from 1999 until 2014, making 302 Bundesliga and 68 second-flight appearances for Hannover. The now 38-year-old is Hannover’s all-time record appearance maker in Germany’s top-flight. From 2010 until ending his active playing career in 2014, Cherundolo was H96 captain.”

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Cherundolo’s name has been mentioned when speculating about the next boss of the USMNT, but at this point of his career, it would likely be more beneficial to continue honing his skills on the daily grind of the club level. Having started out as an assistant for Hannover’s reserve and then the U-15s, he’s shown an incredible hunger to put in the work required to climb the managerial ladder.

Stuttgart parts ways with Hannes Wolf as coach

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Stuttgart is looking for a new coach after parting company with Hannes Wolf.

The Bundesliga side says the decision was made following discussions with Wolf that lasted well into the night after Stuttgart’s 2-0 loss at home to Schalke on Saturday.

[ MORE: West Brom drops hammer on Liverpool in FA Cup upset ]

It was Stuttgart’s seventh loss in eight Bundesliga games and it leaves the side just three points above the relegation zone.

Stuttgart sporting director Michael Reschke says, “We need a new impulse to get back onto a more successful track. None of us wanted to be in this situation and we would very much have liked to have continued working with Hannes, because he is an exceptional coach and a wonderful character.”

The 36-year-old Wolf led Stuttgart to promotion as second division champion last season. He had been in charge since September 2016.

Wolf says he is “very grateful for almost a year and a half of unbelievably intensive and mostly wonderful times.”

Stuttgart says a decision on a successor will be made “in the next few days.”

Germany forward Mario Gomez returns to Stuttgart

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Germany forward Mario Gomez will return to Stuttgart, where he won the 2007 Bundesliga title, from rival Wolfsburg.

Stuttgart said Friday that the 32-year-old Gomez will sign a contract through 2020.

Gomez started his career in Stuttgart’s youth team. He made his Germany debut in 2007 while playing for the club, then played for Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Besiktas before joining Wolfsburg in 2016.

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Gomez said he was “very happy to be back home, where everything began for me,” and promised to “give everything” to keep Stuttgart in the top flight.

Promoted Stuttgart went into the winter break in 14th place in the 18-team Bundesliga, two points clear of the relegation zone.

News agency dpa reported that the transfer fee was more than 3 million euros ($3.5 million).

Also Friday, Stuttgart said 19-year-old winger Josip Brekalo will return to Wolfsburg during the winter break, rather than staying on loan until the end of the season as originally planned. The Croat has been with Stuttgart since January.

Germany midfielder Khedira buys 1,200 tickets for charity

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STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Germany midfielder Sami Khedira has bought 1,200 tickets for Monday’s World Cup qualifier against Norway in his native Stuttgart and donated them to charity.

[ MORE: France held by Luxembourg in shocking WCQ draw ]

The tickets have been distributed to socially disadvantaged children and children fighting cancer in the region so they can attend the game through an initiative organized by Khedira’s foundation.

The Juventus midfielder says “it just came about for the national game here in Stuttgart. For me personally, it was important not just to give money, but that the kids themselves could get something from it. Most wouldn’t have had the chance to attend a game for various reasons, financial or logistical.”

Germany will qualify for the World Cup from Group C if it wins and second-place Northern Ireland fails to beat the Czech Republic in Belfast.