New York City Football Club midfielder Jack Harrison was voted Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the 17th week of the 2016 MLS season.
Harrison continued a strong start to his rookie season in NYC FC’s first ever victory over rival New York Red Bulls on Sunday, as his goal and assist led NYC to a 2-0 win. The No. 1 overall pick at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Harrison has excelled since missing the early part of the season due to injury, producing two goals and two assists in his four starts for the club. An England native who moved to the U.S. at the age of 14, Harrison has been a major component of NYCFC’s recent hot streak as the team now sits first in the Eastern Conference standings (27 points, 7-5-6) after winning its last three matches.
Early in the game, NYCFC midfielder Andrea Pirlo sent a corner kick to a trailing Harrison, who easily avoided two defenders with a slick flick-on before firing a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles for a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
After showcasing his scoring prowess, the 19-year-old displayed his ability to distribute in the 66th minute when he ran down the right side and sent a perfect ball into the box setting up an easy tap-in for David Villa to put NYCFC up 2-0.
Harrison is the first rookie to win MLS Player of the Week since Orlando City SC forward Cyle Larin in Week 21 of the 2015 season.
“He is a young talent,” NYC FC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “He still has some of the parts of his game that he needs to improve, but I think having Frank Lampard and [Andrea] Pirlo, Andoni [Iraola], and David Villa around him will help him to grow up and to be a better player.
“He’s still far away because sometimes people forget that he was out for four months and it will take time for him to be at his best, but the way he played – and you could see the last 15 minutes was really difficult for him physically – but he needs to go to that situation for him to be better and better.”