Freese joined NYCFC before the start of the 2023 season from the Philadelphia Union, where he was the backup to star goalkeeper Andre Blake. New York City paid a premium for Freese: The club sent Philadelphia $200,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money, and another $150,000 in 2024 GAM. In addition, the Union could receive as much as $400,000 more in GAM if performance benchmarks are met.
Still, Freese spent most of the season on the bench. Longtime New York City backup Luis Barraza was head coach Nick Cushing’s starter of choice, largely because he was known to be familiar with the club’s possession-focused style of play.
But Freese emerged as the team’s primary starter at the end of the season. He was in goal during the team’s last eight games of the season, and logged five clean sheets. During that run of games NYCFC enjoyed their best form all season, posting four wins and three draws, and taking 15 out of a possible 24 points. Freese allowed just four goals in 720 minutes of play.
Freese ended the 2023 season with a cumulative Hudson River Blue Player Rating of 7.0. That was the highest rating on the team.
This contract extension can be considered a commitment to making Freese the regular starter in the coming season. It should settle the goalkeeping questions that hung over the club during the 2023 season, when New York City failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time 2015.
You can read the full statement issued by the club at the end of this post.
New York City Football Club Goalkeeper Matt Freese Signs Contract Extension
New York, N.Y., December 14, 2023 – Today New York City Football Club has announced that it has signed Goalkeeper Matt Freese to a contract extension through 2026 with an option for 2027.
Freese joined NYCFC in January ahead of the 2023 season from the Philadelphia Union. The 25-year-old American keeper made 14 appearances recording six clean sheets for the ‘Boys in Blue’ across all competitions last season.
Sporting Director David Lee said: “We’re delighted to have extended Matt’s contract. From the day he arrived in preseason, he’s shown tremendous work ethic, dedication and patience, and has made a real impression both in the locker room and on the pitch. He earned his opportunity to start at the end of the 2023 season and quickly showed what a talented goalkeeper he is, and why we were so keen to bring him to the Club.
“He also quickly understood the importance of the New York City community to our Club and is a real ambassador and example for how our players can engage and positively impact our community across the five boroughs.
“Matt’s character and personality in the locker room, combined with his leadership skills will be important elements to our team in 2024 and beyond. He has developed his game since he joined the Club but is also still in the relatively early phase of his career with huge potential, so we are excited to continue his progression and believe he will be an important player for the Club in the years ahead.”
Having made appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Leagues Cup, Freese took over the starting role towards the end of the season and put in some memorable performances. As the ‘Boys in Blue’ were making a push for the for the playoffs, Freese allowed only four goals and notched five clean sheets in the final eight games of the season. In a post-season friendly against Inter Miami CF, Freese put on a ‘Man of the Match’ performance on Noche D’Or, making four saves including one against Lionel Messi to keep him off the score sheet in a 2-1 victory.
Goalkeeper Matt Freese said: “It’s an honor to sign a contract extension with NYCFC. It’s an amazing organization and I’ve really enjoyed my time here. Although this past season didn’t go the way we wanted it to, I know there are a lot of positives to build on to come out stronger next season. I am thrilled to be a part of what we are building here and to get to work with such a great staff to achieve our goals. I look forward to continuing to work my hardest every day to be my best for this Club and will represent this amazing City to the best of my ability.
“I think a home game in the playoffs is what we should be striving for. It’s what we should be achieving next year with the group we have, the fantastic coaching staff we have, and the resources and energy everyone in the organization gives towards the team’s success. I can’t wait to play in front of our passionate fans again. When we’re on the field, their energy in the stands is palpable and makes us want to fight even harder. It’s an honor to play in front of them and I hope we can provide them with moments and memories that they can cheer for next season and beyond.”
Transaction: New York City Football Club signs Goalkeeper Matt Freese to a contract extension through 2026 with an option for 2027.
Name: Matt Freese
Date of Birth: September 2, 1998
Hometown: Wayne, PA