New York City made the signing of Slovakian forward Adam Nemec official today. Rumors that Nemec would be joining the team had circulated in the past week, bolstered by the statement released by his former team, FC 1. Union Berlin. But nothing had been confirmed by New York City until today.
In his first remarks as a New York City player, Nemec sounded pleased to join the team.
"Joining New York City FC is a fantastic opportunity for me. I hope to make an immediate impact and help the team get off to a great start as we begin our historic inaugural season. I know that being part of an ambitious club like New York City FC will give me the chance to show what I am capable of and maintain my place on the Slovakian National Team as we look to qualify for the Euro 2016 Finals."
Nemec's career has mostly seen him feature for second division teams in Germany; in addition to playing for Union Berlin and FC Kaiserslautern, Nemec’s also featured for FC Ingolstadt and FC Erzgebirge Aue, as well as Racing Genk in Belgium and Žilina in his native Slovakia. He began his career with Dubnica in 2002. Nemec experienced the most success with Žilina from 2004 to 2007, appearing in 74 games and scoring 25 goals.
His performance there earned him a contract with Erzgebirge Aue; he’s been fairly peripatetic since. While with FCK, Nemec fell from a cherry tree in his garden in June of 2011; he suffered injuries including broken ribs, a concussion and a broken collarbone which kept him out of soccer for nearly three months. In 60 games with Union Berlin, Nemec scored 14 times.
Judging from his stat lines, it doesn’t look like Nemec packs much of a scoring punch -- whether that's due to lack of finishing ability, or lack of playing time, it's hard to say. My guess, based on a look at his stat lines and the little video that I've seen, is that it's a combination of playing time and playing for teams that are relegation candidates in tougher leagues. This is especially the case in Germany -- Aue, which is where U.S. international Bobby Wood will be playing, is a perennial bottom-feeder, as is Union Berlin.
That said, the powerfully built forward — he’s 6-3, and weighs 180 pounds — has been mostly used to open up space for fellow strikers on the team, and to win aerial battles in the box. I’d suspect that he’d be deployed in a similar role with New York City. Someone like David Villa could make hay paired with a banger like Nemec.
With Nemec's signing, the team now has five forwards: David Villa, Patrick Mullins, Tony Taylor, Khiry Shelton, and Nemec. That means that competition for playing time up top will be fierce; Nemec, in particular, made the move to MLS with playing time in mind, as you can see from his quote above. It'll be interesting to see who survives and who doesn't.