With the contract deadline at 1 p.m. EST Monday, New York City FC were forced to show their hand and announce whose options were picked up and whose were declined. While several unexpected players had their options exercised, a few fan favorites will seemingly not return next year.
Kwame Awuah, Ronald Matarrita, Andre Rawls, Khiry Shelton, and Ben Sweat all had their options picked up. Matarrita does not come as a surprise as he has been an NYCFC mainstay when healthy, and Sweat was a brilliant offseason edition last year. Rawls sticking with team is not flabbergasting, especially with the news that Johansen is departing. Does this mean he’ll finally get the opportunity to be NYCFC’s backup keeper? Lastly, Shelton and Awuah sticking around might be shocking to some fans, but clearly they are rated highly by the coaching staff.
On the other hand, 11 players had their options declined, including RJ Allen, Frederic Brillant, Miguel Camargo, Shannon Gomez, Eirik Johansen, Mikey Lopez, Jefferson Mena, Sean Okoli, Andraz Struna, John Stertzer, and Ethan White. Gomez and Mena were on loan elsewhere, so they may not have been wanted by the coaching staff. Johansen wanted out, presumably so he could be the starter elsewhere. Camargo’s loan expired, but New York City chose not to pick up the option. Okoli and Stertzer were depth pieces that never made much of an impact. Meanwhile, Allen, Lopez, Struna, White, and Brillant all made somewhat of an impact at various times throughout the year, so it’s disappointing to see them go.
Of note: Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Jack Harrison, Yangel Herrera, Sean Johnson, Jonathan Lewis, Tommy McNamara, Maxi Moralez, Alex Ring, James Sands, David Villa, and Rodney Wallace already had contracts guaranteed for 2018. Plus, Andrea Pirlo retired.
Some players cut loose still could possibly return, though it is very unlikely that they will. Even though not all of the departing players made the impact that the team had hoped for, we thank them for their service and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.