March 8 is the date sticking ever more to the minds of New York City FC fans, and with every passing week, the anticipation is building to that fateful day. Although the honeymoon period of Villa and Lampard’s signings is now over, there is still a contentment around the Big Apple, an optimistic outlook at the currently unknown.
The squad still hasn’t been entirely filled out, dizzying NYCFC fans with the prospect of a few more important signings (one of which could fulfill the third Designated Player spot), while the close-approaching pre-season friendlies will finally give fans the opportunity to see the players in action. This week, training began, and the franchise saw some executive-level personnel changes.
January 25: Full training begins: After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, Jason Kreis and his coaching staff finally led his squad into full training in Jacksonville, Florida. Not only did this training allow visiting fans to check out the players they will soon enough be cheering for – thanks to NYCFC’s Youtube channel – fans the world over can follow the progress of the team. See the video below to view the first day of training, and subscribe to the channel for continued updates:
Along with those already announced as being NY City players, the training camp is also accommodating trialists from the United States and beyond. Jose Ribas (a Creighton college wingback, who went undrafted at the SuperDraft), Corben Bone (recently signed by NYCFC’s affiliate side, Wilmington Hammerheads), and Montenegrin Bledi Bardic (who bagged 12 goals and 2 assists in nine games for NPSL league team Clarkstown Eagles) were all shipped into the training camp from the States, while Shay Facey (referenced in this article for NY Sports Hub) and Pablo Alvarez (former teammate of David Villa and ex-Sporting Gijon midfielder) have found their way to Florida via Europe, from England and Spain respectively. For a more in-depth look at the training camp trialists, Hudson River Blue have two good articles on the matter here and here.
January 26: Signing of Adam Nemec reported: According to his former employers, Union Berlin, Slovakian striker Adam Nemec signed for NYCFC. More on this in my article from earlier this week. Nothing yet from NYCFC, but it seems time will only tell us that the reports are true.
January 28: Mix Diskerud features for USMNT vs Chile: In a match that was encouraging in attack but disheartening in defense for the US National Team, Mix Diskerud featured in the midfield, and contributed to the 3-2 scoreline with a neat bit of trickery that set up polarising striker Jozy Altidore for the second USA goal. Although his team didn’t win, Diskerud certainly deserved more from his performance and is going to be an integral part of Kreis’ upcoming plans. See Christopher James’ great NYSH article on Diskerud’s part in the game for more.
Pernetti out, Glick in: In a decision as disorienting as it was publicised, Tim Pernetti left his post as New York City FC’s Chief Business Officer, to be replaced by parent club Manchester City’s COO, Tom Glick. Pernetti, who was tasked with introducing the franchise into a new market when he was hired 18 months ago, did an adequate job, leading NYCFC through the sale of 12,000 season tickets but bearing the brunt of the Lampardgate PR fiasco. Pernetti immediately took up the role of President of Multimedia for WME/IMG’s college business, starting after NYC’s first game (against Orlando). This move will see Pernetti return to the college scene after he left Rutgers University as Athletics Director following the Mike Rice scandal at the college.
The fact that Tom Glick is the one to take Pernetti’s place underlines the close relationship that will remain between both NYC and Manchester City, at least as long as New York are judged are need the help. Glick wasn’t just hired due to his role at Manchester City however; he has a wealth of experience in both soccer in England and in North American leagues, such as the NBA.