June 2, 2014
By Charles Cuttone
Doing things the NY way
New York City FC announced their presence on the New York sports scene with authority on Monday, signing Spain international David Villa.
This is the kind of signing the New York Cosmos used to make. Use the World Cup as a scouting trip.
Villa is heading to Brazil with the defending World Cup Champions. He just helped Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title and a place in the Champions League final.
David Beckham may have been the most significant signing in the history of Major League Soccer, but Villaís signing, and the rumored addition of England international Frank Lampard, put New York City FC in a different strata than even the LA Galaxy have been with their signings.
Villa is Spainís all-time record goalscorer, with 56 in 94 appearances. He has won three La Liga titles, one Champions League, a World Cup and a European Championship. Unlike when Beckham signed, heís not hoping to work his way back into a World Cup spot, he already has his ticket.
After he was named Cityís coach, Jason Kreis was dispatched to England to learn the Manchester City way. Itís apparently sinking in. Open a check book and make a big splash. Thatís exactly what this team and soccer in NYC needs.
New York has always been a market of big stars. Thatís no different now. Derek Jeter, Eli Manning, Henrik Lundquist -- big names on the biggest stage. Back in the day, the Cosmos knew this. Thatís why the signing of Pele was only the beginning, and was followed by the likes of Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Johan Neeskens.
Those teams were fun to watch, they won championships and they drew crowds. They got the city buzzing.
NY City FC now appears to be doing the same thing. They have to. They have a 50,000-seat stadium they will be playing in for at least the next three years, one that is not exactly suited for soccer. Signing big stars, putting an attractive, entertaining and winning team on the field is the way to win New York fans.
Certainly thatís part of the corporate culture of the teamís owners, Manchester City and the New York Yankees. They have the bank account to back it up and clearly they are now putting that money where it counts.