NYC FC Continue To Bolster Defense

(Jason Schott – New York Sports Day)

New York City Football Club has spent this offseason trying to get younger and improve their defense. They recently announced the acquisitions of Ronald Matarrita, Frédéric Brillant, and Miguel “Mikey” Lopez.

On Thursay, NYC FC completed the transfer of Frédéric Brillant from K.V. Oostende. Targeted Allocation Money was used in the purchase of the player. Per MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Brillant, a 30-year old French center back, has made 79 appearances for the Belgian first division side over the past three seasons. Prior to that Brillant amassed 185 total appearances in Belgian professional football since 2005.

Brillant told, “This is a new challenge in my career and a great opportunity. It’s also a new adventure for my family. I’m very excited to wear the colors of New York City FC and play in front of the fans at Yankee Stadium.

“It will be an honor for me to be coached by Patrick Vieira, he is a role model in France for what he’s achieved in his career and is known throughout the game for his leadership.”

New York City FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said of Brillant, “Frédéric will bring leadership and experience to our defense. He was eager to join us and that’s one thing we always look for when recruiting a player. It’s important to us that players are passionate about playing for this club. With his strength and his ability to anticipate danger, he could be a real asset to the team.”

Head Coach Patrick Vieira said, “To have more experience in the back will give the Club different options. We’ve brought in a number of young players recently so to add some experience is important. Frederic is very composed with the ball at his feet and has a great understanding of the game.”

NYC FC recently signed defender/midfielder Ronald Matarrita from club L.D. Alajuelense. Targeted allocation money was used to acquire the player. Per MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ronald will be officially added to New York City FC’s roster upon receipt of his ITC and P1 visa.

Matarrita is a mainstay in the Costa Rican National Team set up, having progressed from the U-17 level in 2010 to the full Men’s team in 2015 where he has earned six caps since September. He started the two most recent World Cup Qualifying games for Costa Rica against Panama & Haiti in November.  The 21 year old has made 54 appearances and scored 4 goals while playing for Alajuelense since 2012.

Matarrita said to, “It’s a very big step for me as a footballer, to have this opportunity. From the moment I heard that New York City FC was interested in me I became very motivated. Now that it’s a reality I will take full advantage of it to help the team be successful.

“For me to get the chance to share the training field with the level of talent in the club, three world cup titles, is incredible. I will try to take great advantage of the experience and the opportunity to learn from them and try to improve as a player.”

NYC FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “In Matarrita, we are getting a young, motivated  and versatile player at the perfect stage of his career.  He has already broken through as an international and can help strengthen our squad immediately and at only 21, we know he will develop into an even more important player in the future”

NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said, “We are very happy to bring in a young player of Ronald’s quality into the squad. He’s a versatile player that can play in a number of different positions, for a coach it’s great to have players like that in the group. I’m especially looking forward to having Ronald with the team during preseason, it’s an important moment for new signings to integrate to the squad and get to know their teammates better. ”

On Tuesday, they acquired Miguel “Mikey” Lopez from waivers. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Lopez has join the Club’s pre-season training camp in Fort Myers, Florida.

Lopez, a 22-year-old midfielder, was selected 14th overall by Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 SuperDraft. Lopez has made 14 appearances for Sporting Kansas City since 2013. The midfielder was loaned to USL Pro Affiliate Orlando City in 2014 and then Oklahoma City Energy in 2014-2015.

Prior to turning professional, Lopez was a standout at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, leading the Tar Heels to the 2011 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer Championship in addition to collecting ACC Freshman Player of the Year honors. Lopez also collected 17 caps for the United States U-20 National Team from 2012-2013.

Lopez said, “I’m really excited for this opportunity. I’m thankful that Patrick and Claudio showed confidence in me and offered me this opportunity. I cannot wait to play in front of our fans at the Yankee Stadium, all the players have told me that it’s a great atmosphere.

“I’m a never say die player. I will fight for every ball and give 100% at all times. The fans will come to expect this type of hard defensive work from me and that I will do everything in my power to keep that zero on the scoreboard.”

New York City FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said, “Lopez is a young player that has a lot to prove and I know he’s excited to compete for a starting place in this team. He’s been in the national team set up and is now very motivated to establish himself in MLS. He will add depth and another option in the defensive midfield role. We feel he will fit into our club well and the way we want to play.”

Head Coach Patrick Vieira said, “Mikey knows the league well which is a real benefit for us. He’s only 22 years old but has been around the league since he was 19. I think he brings something to the group that we currently lack. He’s comfortable in possession, but his strength is closing the opposition down and winning the ball back for the team. He will cover a lot of ground; every coach wants players like this on their team. It’s great that he’s been able to join up with the group in Florida already and is ready to start training.”

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