The End of An Era – David Villa Departs New York City Football Club
It was a glorious day when David Villa signed to be the first player for New York City Football Club, and build the club. These were days before the fanfare and excitement were real, the weeks and months before the first ball was ever kicked.
It has been an incredible four years — and in this time, New York City Football Club has become one of the strongest MLS clubs in America … with David Villa’s help. The Spanish World Cup winner departs after scoring 80 goals in 124 MLS appearances for the Boys in Blue. Villa was New York City FC’s first-ever signing inked on June 2, 2014, leaving the famed Atletico Madrid for the MLS.
Now that David Villa will leave NYCFC at the end of his contract on December 31, 2018, everyone is wondering what is next for this superstar soccer player who many thought would retire playing for the city that never sleeps.
The Club’s first-ever player and Captain will announce the next destination in his glittering playing career in the coming days. When Villa joined NYCFC, his reputation as one of this generation’s most devastating strikers gave credence to the blossoming MLS, and his presence has helped America’s top professional soccer league gain international respect.
Fun Fact on David Villa at NYCFC:
Villa scored goals from the start in MLS, netting NYCFC’s first Yankee Stadium goal in the historic home-opening win vs. New England Revolution, before going on to accumulate 18 in his debut season.
What Does David Villa Say About Leaving NYCFC?
“I can only say thank you, thank you to everybody. First, to City Football Group that gave me the opportunity to come here. To NYCFC and MLS for accepting me. To everybody at the Club who helped me day-by-day.
“Thank you to the people in the offices, the people working with the team and the coaches and staff. Thank you to my teammates – without them, it would have been impossible to be successful. Thank you to the people working in the media that always gave me the respect and the love.
“Obviously, our fans. I remember the first day I showed the jersey and the supporters were there. I would have liked to give the supporters the MLS Cup, but I don’t have any doubts that in the next years the Club will get it for sure.
“My experience here was amazing. It gave me everything as a soccer player, as a person, and as a family man. I’ll always remember this experience with love. My heart is here and I’m an NYCFC supporter forever.”
What is NYCFC Saying About David Villa?
Vice Chairman of New York City FC Marty Edelman said, “David Villa encompasses the values that we have here at New York City FC. The impact he has had on not only this Club but in this City, cannot be measured in just goals or assists.”
“We thank David for helping us build NYCFC and wish him the very best moving forward. It’s been a memorable and historic first four seasons with David at the helm. We are proud of the milestones we’ve reached together which have set the foundation for the Club which will continue to grow for years to come.”
Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “David has been an incredible ambassador and Captain to this Club since the moment we signed him. His professionalism and leadership helped us through the challenges that a new team faces when they come into the league. He’s represented New York City FC tremendously both on and off the pitch and has been a real leader for this football club.”
“I truly believe that David will be remembered as one of the best players to ever play in MLS. He will forever be a legend amongst all of our wonderful supporters and everyone here at NYCFC wishes David nothing but the best in the remainder of his career. He will always be a part of NYCFC.”
Looking Back on David Villa’s Time at NYCFC:
His first season was just a taste of what was to come as he scored 23 goals in his second season, leading the team to the MLS Playoffs for the first time and winning the 2016 MLS MVP award.
In 2017, he scored 24 goals across all competitions, despite playing in fewer games than the previous season, as NYCFC finished runners-up in the Supporters’ Shield race – a tally which included his first-ever hat-trick for the Club in the unforgettable 3-2 Hudson River Derby win over Red Bulls in the Bronx.
This incredible form earned David a recall to the Spanish national team in September 2017 and he received a hero’s reception when he won his 98th international cap vs. Italy, three years after his last appearance for La Roja.
In what proved to be his final year at NYCFC, David overcame various injuries to lead the team in goals, with 15 scored in 23 starts, proving his enduring quality as he helped City to a third-straight postseason campaign scoring in the Knockout Round win over Philadelphia.
One of the highlights of the year arrived in April vs. FC Dallas when he scored the 400th goal of his career, elevating Villa into the pantheon of greats to have netted over 400 goals at the highest level.
As NYCFC says, “A dedicated contributor to City in the Community programs, a man who carried the team on his back as Captain on countless occasions, and now a New Yorker for life, David leaves NYCFC with the gratitude and the warmest wishes from everyone affiliated with the Club.”
Source: NYCFC Press Release