New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presented keys to the city to each of the players, honoring the Cityzens for their first MLS Cup title.
“The team motto is ‘For the City’ and this team lives it out,” De Blasio said. “They inspire us, they make us feel hope even in the toughest moments. This is an amazing team for the ages.”
Serenaded with chants of “take it off” after his unique post-match celebration, fully-clothed NYCFC manager Ronny Deila credited the togetherness of the championship quest, saying he was taken aback by celebratory scenes at the watch party at Hammerstein Ballroom.
“What we have accomplished together is amazing, unbelievable. I will remember for the rest of my life,” Deila said. “I almost start crying again. I don’t want to do that, but it makes me emotional because it’s about people, it's about being together. It’s about doing something together because you’re nothing alone. It’s us, so thank you everybody for that.”
The club’s sporting director, David Lee, also referenced that theme of taking the journey together, from their lone Audi MLS Cup Playoffs win at Yankee Stadium – a Round One victory over Atlanta United – to the epic penalty kick shootout win in MLS Cup 2021.
“There is a phrase that we have said regularly over the last few weeks: If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” Lee said. “We all, players, staff and most importantly you the fans, we went together to Yankee Stadium to beat Atlanta, together to New England, together to Philadelphia and most importantly together to Portland to bring the trophy home.”
The club’s CEO, Brad Sims, was interrupted by chants of “we want a stadium” from supporters at the celebration. He lauded their “passion" and gave them his pledge.
“I’m here today to promise you that we will not stop pursuing trophies and we will definitely build you a stadium,” Sims said. “It’s a promise.”
When the official ceremony ended, club captain and MLS Cup 2021 MVP pres. by Audi Sean Johnson brought the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy toward fans, posing for pictures with many of them.
“We started out the season and we said we had one mission and that’s to win a Cup,” Johnson said. “And we gave everything to do it and we’re not done yet because this is just the beginning.”
Next year, NYCFC will vie for the 2022 Concacaf Champions League crown and be tasked with defending their title spot. The club brought home inaugural silverware seven years after first competing in 2015 as an expansion side.