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Alfredo Morales leaves NYCFC, signs with San Jose

NYCFC traded Morales' MLS rights to San Jose in exchange for a third round draft pick in 2026.

Goodbye to another 2021 MLS Cup champion |

Alfredo Morales has signed with the San Jose Earthquakes, with NYCFC announcing a trade of the midfielder’s MLS rights in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2026 MLS SuperDraft.

In its announcement of the move, San Jose confirmed signing Morales to a new contract through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.

NYCFC declined its contract option for Morales as part of its end-of-season roster decisions, but still held his MLS rights. Morales, having left Germany for MLS in April 2021, does not have the required five years of league service to qualify for free agency, so San Jose needed to give something up to sign him. Welcome, eventual 2026 MLS SuperDraft third rounder.

Only six players now remain from the NYCFC match day squad for MLS Cup 2021, with two more (Nicolás Acevedo and Thiago Andrade) still technically on the roster, but ones who recently left on loan.

Morales was a key part of that championship team in 2021, appearing in 32 matches across all competitions and contributing four assists while playing a steady defensive midfield role for Ronny Deila’s side. He was in the cup-winning Starting XI after starting throughout the club’s successful playoff run, and the cup might not have come back to New York City without his performances in the tight, tough road games the team won in New England, Philadelphia, and Portland.

Injuries have sadly plagued Morales since the late summer of 2022. Morales seemed to make it back to health in time for the 2022 playoff run but was re-injured almost immediately after entering as a substitute in the Decision Day away win over Atlanta United, and then missed the entirety of the club’s run back to the Eastern Conference Final.

Injuries would continue to limit his availability in 2023, as Morales appeared in 22 matches but only started 11, with the last appearance of his NYCFC tenure coming in the goalless Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium on September 16. Morales will now make the move across the country likely looking to stay healthy and put together another few productive seasons in San Jose’s midfield.

New York City continues to have needs in its central midfield—the loan of Andrés Perea expired on December 31, 2023, and while he was linked with a return to NYCFC, no deal has been reached.

The club has been rumored to have interest in other MLS midfielders like Austin FC’s Dani Pereira and free agent and ex-Earthquakes midfielder Jamiro Monteiro, but those reports and all the others mentioned in our comprehensive NYCFC Offseason Transfer Tracker remain, for now, only rumors.