Known more for blockbuster deals rather than shrewd signings of role players, New York City FC has dipped into the pool of available league veterans yet again.
Midfielder John Stertzer, who played 48 games for Real Salt Lake after being selected with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2013 SuperDraft, has parlayed his training-camp performances into a contract. RSL declined the option on his contract and Stertzer, 26, joined NYCFC’s preseason camp on trial. He hit goals against Jacksonville University and Emelec in his first two games for the club. For RSL he scored just one goal and logged one assist.
“What I like about John is his attitude and his work ethic – he’s a really smart player who is a goalscorer,” said NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira in a team statement. “The timing of his runs inside the box is really good - he’s always at the right place at the right time and his finishing is excellent. He’s someone has really fought for a spot and he will bring a lot of competition for his position. To add one more quality player to our roster is really pleasing.”
Stertzer played mostly a holding role for RSL and will most likely provide cover for recent signing Yangel Herrera. He joins keeper Sean Johnson, winger Rodney Wallace, and USL MVP forward Sean Okoli as significant domestic acquisitions made since NYCFC was destroyed by Toronto FC, 7-0, in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“It feels great – I’m so grateful for the opportunity NYCFC have given me to come in and try to earn the spot,” said Stertzer, who played his college ball at Maryland. "From day one, I’ve felt like I was at home, everyone has been so open and welcoming, giving me the confidence to push forward. I grew up watching Patrick as a player and he’s such a great coach - I feel like I’ve already learned so much from the first camp right through to now - I’m learning so much every day.”
New York City
2017 Roster (25 players):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Eirik Johansen, Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire, Trade via Atlanta United), Andre Rawls.
DEFENDERS (7): RJ Allen, Frederic Brillant, Alexander Callens (Numancia/SPA, Free), Maxime Chanot, Shannon Gomez, Ronald Matarrita, Ethan White.
MIDFIELDERS (12): Miguel Camargo (Chorillo FC/PAN, Loan), Mix Diskerud, Jack Harrison, Yangel Herrera (Manchester City/ENG, Loan), Jonathan Lewis (Univ. of Akron), Mikey Lopez, Tommy McNamara, Maximiliano Moralez (Leon/MEX, Transfer), Andrea Pirlo, Alexander Ring (Kaiserslautern/GER, Transfer), John Stertzer (Real Salt Lake, Free Agent), Rodney Wallace (Recife/BRA, Free Agent).
FORWARDS (3): Sean Okoli (FC Cincinnati, USL Signing), Khiry Shelton, David Villa.