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Former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard joined MLS expansion team New York City FC on Thursday. Lampard joins David Villa as the second major European star NYCFC has signed in preparation for their inaugural season.
The announcement was made Thursday morning at Brooklyn’s waterfront. Lampard, 36, is Chelsea’s all-time leader in appearances (429), goals (147), and assists (90), notes The New York Times.
Lampard signed a two-year contract, but will likely go on loan to another club for the fall, as NYCFC does not have their first match until March 2015. Lampard is past his prime, but he has put together one of the most impressive careers among all active soccer players in the world. The midfielder was voted English Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, and is one of only seven players to score more than 150 Premier League goals. He captained England in their final game of this year’s World Cup and will be a likely candidate to captain NYC in their inaugural season.
Aljazeera reports that MLS is trying to keep Americans interested in soccer after the U.S. team created excitement during the World Cup in Brazil. Lampard has the type of name recognition that could draw some New Yorkers out to the Bronx to watch soccer, instead of baseball.
NYCFC will be playing their home matches at Yankee Stadium, as the team is partially owned by the New York Yankees.
NYCFC now has four players on their roster, but two have them have won UEFA Champions League titles, the most prestigious award in European club soccer. NYC head coach Jason Kreis does not have much to work with as of now, but he has to be excited with the players he has so far.