New York City FC: Trading Alexander Ring was the wrong move

New York City FC shocked fans on Thursday with the trade announcement of Alex Ring

On Thursday, New York City FC fans received shocking news from the club: Alexander Ring, or known as just Alex Ring or the Ringleader, was traded to Austin FC.  The Pigeons can receive up to $1.25 million in General Allocation Money from the expansion side.

With this news, fans were definitely blindsided, and questions on why the captain was traded are being asked.  Ring is often considered one of the best players on the team, and he has been a fan favorite since joining in 2017.  However, Sporting Director David Lee alluded the salary cap was part of why the 29-year-old was traded.  Nonetheless, Ring has the quality where his contract could have been changed to be a Designated Player.  NYCFC should have continued to invest in him.

Plus, per NYCFC radio broadcaster Roberto Abramowitz, it seemed a new deal could not be completed between Ring and the Pigeons.  It is possible the captain wanted more money, and NYCFC would not budge.  But Ring is the type of player a team should not trade.  No matter the price tag, he was worth everything to the club and fans.

The fact the Pigeons traded him illuminates a not-so-great side of the club, which unfortunately plagues many professional sports teams.  Yes, in the end, it is a business, but Ring was the most dedicated and committed player.  At the very least, New York City FC could have been loyal to him.

Unfortunately, money speaks, and now Ring is on his way to reunite with former NYCFC player Ben Sweat and former Sporting Director Claudio Reyna.  It is upsetting for fans to see the Ringleader move to another MLS team.  Sure, money is important, and sometimes tough choices must be made.  But Ring’s value is more than a dollar sign.

Not only was he a good player on the pitch, but his dedication to the fans was recognizable from his first day at the club.  He always mentioned and thanked the fans, and made sure to spend time with them.  Even when he portrayed this toughness and confidence, his humility and gratitude were always on display.  Ring was the type of player to root for, and a vital leader for New York City FC.

Hopefully, the Ringleader was not forced out, and there was some mutual respect and agreement to the move.  If later on fans find out Ring did not want to leave, then the turmoil between the organization and the fans could increase even more.  No matter the reason, trading the captain was the wrong move.  He is too good of a player, and fans love him.

Although, there is the possibility the captain wanted the move and wanted a new challenge.  It is obvious Ronny Deila preferred to play him on the wings rather than a central defensive midfielder.  But Ring plays best in the latter position, which is now crowded with younger, and less expensive players.  Ring and Deila could have not been on the same page, and Austin offered him to play at his preferred position.  With that in mind though, again Ring is too good of a player, and Deila should have done right by him.

Finally, in the case New York City FC truly want to overhaul the squad for 2021, and thought it was time for Ring to move on, then that would be absolutely ridiculous.  Yes, there are some changes needed, but more at an organizational level rather than the players.  It also would not make sense to trade Ring for that reason.

In the end, there is no better way to describe the trade: it was the wrong move.  Of course, this is from the fan point of view, and not the business side.  But in a period where fans are threatening to stop being fans due to internal issues and lack of transparency, this is not the time to move Alex Ring, or any of the more talented players that fans adore.