When David Beckham stepped on the field in Los Angeles for the first time, MLS was never the same. The Galaxy sold out every stadium they visited, and the Beckham 23 shirt became the highest selling jersey in Major League Soccer. ESPN started putting major matches on TV, because everybody wanted to see the Galaxy play.
This summer, New York City FC made major headlines when it signed superstar David Villa. The Liga BBVA veteran and World Cup Champion signed a three year deal bringing him to America. His signature brought one of the most popular players in the world to our league. The last time a player of Villa’s caliber signed with MLS in his prime was when Beckham joined The Galaxy.
Not to mention, the New York market is an amazing place for soccer to grow. The city has nine major sports franchises and now it’s getting one more. But Villa’s value didn’t stop when he signed the deal. He began to do some serious recruiting for other big talent.
When Xavi decided to leave FC Barcelona, he was reportedly contacted by several clubs in the Middle East and MLS. Rumors circulated that Xavi was going to the Red Bulls or New York City FC. Either would make sense, with former FC Barcelona players at each. But according to the most recent reports, Xavi will sign with NYCFC this week. There’s no doubt that Villa was a major part of these negotiations. But the story continues…
The best midfielder in Chelsea FC’s history is Frank Lampard. Holding the club’s record in goals and consecutive appearances, Lampard’s career with Chelsea was unmatched. He and Xavi are expected to officially make the pledge to New Y0rk City FC this week. He brings an experienced veteran to the infant club.
Never before has this happened in Major League Soccer. Usually European stars come one at a time to established clubs… but this time, an expansion franchise managed to bring in three of the world’s most successful players all at once. Who isn’t going to want to see New York City FC play? The amount of talent on the field at every moment will be something special to watch. I expect the ‘big three’ of Villa, Xavi, and Lampard to have a bigger impact than Beckham did in 2007.
New York City FC has made one thing clear, they plan to compete for the MLS Cup from Day One. But more importantly, the club is in an amazing position to grow and build our league more quickly than ever before. Hopefully Major League Soccer’s newest ‘big three’ will be able to recruit new European stars to MLS and change soccer in America forever.