Buoyed by overwhelming support for the US team during the World Cup, the prestige and quality of American soccer continues to grow.
Former English and Chelsea star Frank Lampard announced a two-year deal with the expansion NYCFC of the MLS at a news conference on Thursday morning in Brooklyn, adding another significant international star to the MLS landscape.
Wishing Frank Lampard the very best of luck in New York! #SuperFrank— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) July 24, 2014
Lampard is just the latest European star expected to play out the twilight of his career in the US. He'll join Spanish striker David Villa as the faces of the franchise when it debuts in March of 2015. Midfielder Xavi was also rumored to be making the trek over to NYCFC, but those talks recently dissolved.
“Simply said, [Lampard] is one of the greatest players in world history,” NYCFC director of operations Claudio Reyna (a former US national team player) said of the acquisition. “He's a professional. A leader. He's ticked all the boxes in terms of quality to help grow our team.”
A 13-year veteran of the EPL, Lampard is the team's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals. His contract is reportedly worth $150K per week, according to Goal.com, which if true, would make him the highest paid player in the MLS. Lampard said he doesn't believe switching to the MLS is a negative in any way, and he's excited about helping to grow soccer in the US.
Frank: "It's not a risk. It's a challenge. I will give everything to be in the middle of that challenge."— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 24, 2014
Frank: "I've been watching games in the #MLS for a long time back home. It's a great opportunity and a great challenge for me."
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 24, 2014
NYCFC, part owned by the Yankees and Manchester City, will play its home games at Yankee Stadium. Man City could potentially use some of its lower tier players as a feeder system to help field a quality MLS team.