TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Extension
NYCFC and midfielder James Sands have agreed to a five year contract extension, the club announced Thursday.
Sands, 20, was the club's first-ever homegrown signing back in 2017. He has progressed to not only a first team regular, but a constant starter when fit under both Dome Torrent and current head coach Ronny Deila. He has 39 appearances so far with the Cityzens, including 16 starts in 2020 before a foot injury ended his season.
“We’re really pleased James has signed a new contract with the club and this moment is well deserved," sporting director David Lee said in a club statement. "The extension speaks to his performances for the First Team over the past two seasons as well as his overall development since signing as our first Homegrown."
Sands was named No. 6 on MLSsoccer.com's 22 Under 22 rankings last season and has been a regular with the US youth national team, representing his country at the U-17 World Cup. He also helped guide the NYCFC academy side to a U-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship.
“Signing a contract extension with NYCFC is a moment to celebrate and a reward for all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the last few years," Sands said. "It means a lot to me to help create that pathway for young players to really make an impact and push past the first contract. To do it at a Club like NYCFC is so special. ... Long-term, playing at a top level in Europe has always been my dream and still is. The Club is in a good position to help me achieve my goals. I’m thankful they understand my ambitions and it’s why I’m so comfortable signing an extension here.”
Sands is expected to be a constant starter again in 2021, particularly after the club traded captain Alexander Ring to Austin FC. He's expected to lock down a spot in Deila's midfield three, alongside Keaton Parks and Maxi Moralez.
“He has become an integral part of our team and consistently plays at a very high level," Lee said. "His work ethic and professionalism both on and off the pitch sets a wonderful example for all our Academy players who are looking to follow in his footsteps. James has such a bright future and we’re looking forward to helping him continue to maximize his potential as a player to help him play at the highest level possible.”