If You’re Not Prepared to Fight for New York City, Don't Sign For NYCFCPlaying for New York City’s team in the world’s most important sport is a massive privilege. All players should act accordingly or find another club.
by Nick Chavez | Friday, September 11, 2015
After New York City FC coach Jason Kreis famously called into question the commitment and effort of his players following the 1-2 home loss to Columbus Crew which all but ended NYCFC’s hopes to make the playoffs in its inaugural season, he stuck to his comments that were made in an admittedly raw moment emotionally for the coach when speaking to Empire of Soccer’s Dave Martinez:
“What I was attempting to say was that by the end of the game, there wasn’t enough heart there,” he said. “For the most part the guys gave a good effort but at the end of the game after we had the second goal scored upon us, I thought a lot of guys quit and I feel that two matches in a row, there was an element of quit in our group which I haven’t seen for the entire season.”
An interesting comment, since most NYCFC fans can probably tell you, that even during NYCFC’s 10-game winless streak, NYCFC rarely could be faulted for lacking effort and “heart”, especially in the dying minutes of matches while trying to equalize or get the 3 points. Yankee Stadium always got the sense that they were at least desperately trying to get those crucial points.
Kreis added, “It is something that is frankly unacceptable to me and to this club and probably to the fans. I want to make sure this group has no quit no matter what happens over the next seven matches as well”
Of course it is unacceptable to the fans, who are paying their hard-earned money to watch these professional athletes perform (and sometimes getting tased in the process). It isn’t fair to always expect to win, but it is completely justified for fans to always demand that these athletes give their absolute best effort, especially when the entire purpose of the regular season, making the playoffs, lies in the balance.
New York City FC travelling supporters marching to Red Bull Arena on May 10, 2015 (Photo by Nick Chavez)
Kreis may have also been directing this sentiment to some of his high-priced, world-famous Designated Players when he said, “We have some very experienced players on this team, both on the world level and an MLS level. All of that experience has to count for something. People need to step forward and take charge.”
If Kreis’s men are indeed not putting in their maximum effort, New York City FC players need to remember what they are fighting for. They are representing the City of New York in, by far, the most important sport in the world at the highest level the game is played in North America.
It doesn’t matter what negative perceptions some people have of Major League Soccer, or for which great leagues and clubs some of these players have played, or things that they have won. They are being paid handsomely to have the privilege of fighting for this great city, playing a sport that the City obviously loves.
They have the chance to truly plant the flag of this sport permanently in “the Media Capital of the World.” These players have the opportunity to elbow their way into the sporting landscape and show this city, and really this whole country, that soccer isn’t just a “niche sport”, but is a sport that will conquer the United States just as it has nearly every other nation on our planet.
There is an immense legacy for the taking for New York City FC players, and especially its designated players who will inevitably be a major draw for new fans and media attention that MLS desperately needs to move to the next level of earning (and therefore, spending) power.
Yes, it is a fantastic accomplishment to win an EPL, La Liga, or Serie A title. Of course, it is a crowning achievement to win a World Cup, Euro Cup, or Champions League title.
But it is something entirely different to say, “Yes, I was one of the men that brought soccer to New York City. I was one of the attractions that made the dream of top-flight football in the iconic 5 Boroughs a permanent reality.” That legacy and accomplishment will stand as a monument, on its own, that can immortalize the players who have achieved it. It is a rare, once in a lifetime opportunity.
Brazil’s own national treasure Pelé, perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, can proudly say that he played a major part in bringing soccer to New York and America during his stint with the New York Cosmos.
Even though the original NASL was doomed to collapse, it showed FIFA and believers in the sport in North America that a successful pro soccer league is possible, if done intelligently. It proved that there is a real appetite for the World’s Game in the United States.
New York City FC have the opportunity now to finish the job. And not just the players on the roster, but the club officials and ownership groups involved themselves.
What a legacy, indeed, it would be to bring the world’s most popular sport into national media relevance and mainstream popularity in North America. And what a business opportunity, if you are motivated mostly by dollars and cents.
Why waste it? Why wouldn't you take it seriously?
“Our City. Our Club.”
If any New York City FC players, no matter how famous, decorated, or accomplished do not take this opportunity seriously, then please do all NYCFC fans a huge favor and terminate your contract and find a new team to play for next season.
Nobody cares about your name, buying your shirt, seeing your famous face on a billboard if you’re not here to give your all for these loyal and passionate fans. New York City is not the place to rest on your laurels.
Save the pageantry and find another club with less ambitious fans to play for. Because you are in New York City, and you don’t half-ass it here.
Hopefully, these words don’t truly apply to any current New York City FC players, but Coach Kreis’s aforementioned statements would imply that they do. Whatever the case may be, any player wearing New York City’s sky blue shirt, and anyone who may be thinking about wearing it in the future, take this message to heart.
If you’re not here to fight for the greatest City on Earth, don’t waste the City’s time. Apply elsewhere.