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Why Fan Favorite James Sands’ Return Is Perfect For NYCFC Right Now

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Dec 11, 2021; Portland, OR, USA; New York City FC midfielder James Sands (16) celebrates with defender Guomundur Thorarinsson (20) after beating Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup championship game at Providence Park. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The rumors had been circulating for some time that NYCFC’s first ever Homegrown player James Sands MIGHT be returning to the club, after spending the previous year on loan with Rangers FC in Scotland. Fans as well as us writers wondered and silently hoped that the Rye, NY native, who began his career with the affiliate team New York Soccer Club at the tender age of 10 and saw his first action with the big club barely age 17 would return to the team he literally spent half his life. So it almost seems fitting that in a two part announcement he not only returns to the club just 30 minutes from his hometown, but also that in so doing, signs a deal that carries through the 2027 season. This is massive news for a team that’s seen many of their long time fan favorites depart for the four corners of the planet, leaving a void in both leadership, and even identity.

Reactions have been positive. Sporting Director David Lee was quoted as saying, “It was a priority for us to try and ensure James returned to New York this season. Despite opportunities to continue his career in Europe, we are pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement on a new contract and convince James that this is the right place for his continued career progression. We know James’ ambition remains to play at the highest levels in Europe and we will continue to support him with his career aspirations.” James Sands added: “I am excited to return to New York. As someone who grew up in New York and played for local youth teams and the NYCFC academy, it was and continues to be a great honor to represent this Club. NYCFC has had a tremendous impact on my development, the Club’s support of my initial step in Europe and continued understanding of my career goals has been very important to me.

Head coach Nick Cushing talked about it in the pre-match press conference against the Fire on 3/4. Cut right to the 88 second mark to save you time:

Despite the changeover in the roster, Sands will be back to 100% with the club shortly. He spent years in the backfield paired with Captain Maxime Chanot, now-starting goalkeeper Luis Barraza and for a season with Tayvon Gray. But with the team still working through the transition of losing the likes of Sean Johnson, Maxi Moralez and more, the return of Sands is precisely what the team needs to feel like itself again as it aims to reach the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season. Bing Bong!

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.


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