Players reported to Jacksonville, Fla. on Monday for the first New York City FC training session of the calendar year, marking the official start of the 2018 MLS preseason. The club’s initial shortlist — which currently stands at 31 players — is made up of both familiar and new faces, as well as some team hopefuls.
New signings Anton Tinnerholm, Saad Abdul-Salaam, and young DP Jesus Medina have all made the trip down south, whereas Jo Inge Berget, Cedric Hountondji, and Ismael Tajouri are still awaiting their P1 Visas and ITCs and cannot join their new team just yet.
Another notable name on the list is winger Jack Harrison, who is reportedly being vehemently pursued by Premier League side Stoke City. Obviously Harrison is still under contract with the Bronx Blues as of right now, so he’s contractually obligated to participate in all team activities until he’s told otherwise. That being said, it could be indicative that the team isn’t quite ready to part with their wunderkind just yet. Only time will tell.
NYCFC has invited some academy players to participate as well, including touted prospect — and son of U.S. National Team legend and current NYCFC Sporting Director, Claudio Reyna — Gio Reyna.
Rounding out the list are those invited on a trial basis. Defender Sebastien Ibeagha — who was named the 2017 USL Defender of the Year with San Antonio FC (NYCFC’s USL affiliate) — could be a name to watch. Though not much is generally expected out of trialists, it should be noted that defender Ben Sweat trialed for City in the 2017 preseason and walked away with a contract. Sweat was a huge revelation when he replaced the injured Ronald Matarrita. One of these MLS hopefuls could become NYC’s next cult hero, you never know.
The full 31-man list is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Andre Rawls, Jeff Caldwell^, Sean Johnson, Brad Stuver
Defenders: Anton Tinnerholm, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Joe Scally^^, Maxime Chanot, Sebastien Ibeagha*, Ryan Felix*, Tyler Shaver^^, Ronald Matarrita, Ben Sweat, AJ Paterson^, Alex Bumpus^, Alex Callens
Midfielders: Alex Ring, James Sands, Yangel Herrera, Tommy McNamara, Kwame Awuah, Maxi Moralez, Justin Haak^^, Dante Polvara^^, Gio Reyna^^
Forwards: Jack Harrison, Jonathan Lewis, David Villa, Rodney Wallace, Jesus Medina, Andre Fortune*
^ Unsigned 2018 MLS SuperDraft pick
^^ Academy Player