His successful loan stint at Norway’s Stabaek is over. So, too, is his brief European vacation with his wife, Kelly.
Now, Andrew Jacobson is back in his native California ready to embark on the next phase of his career with New York City FC, as one of the MLS expansion club’s first five signings along with legends Frank Lampard and David Villa.
“I think NYCFC has made a very clear statement with their signings so far. Lampard and Villa are guys who have won so much and bring so much to the team,” Jacobson told MLSsoccer.com. “It is a real honor to be brought in with this original group of players. This has to be one of the coolest opportunities in the world, and I am very thankful to be a part of it.”
Following three-and-a-half seasons with FC Dallas and short stints with D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union, Jacobson, 29, pushed for a move to New York and was dealt for a third-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft in late July.
“I enjoyed every minute in Dallas and really appreciate how much Dallas helped me,” Jacobson said. “They were so gracious the whole time, even at the end in helping me go to NYCFC.”
Jacobson said getting a chance to play for former Real Salt Lake and current NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis was the driving force behind his move.
“I always admired the way Kreis’ Salt Lake team played and have heard nothing but great things from guys around the league,” Jacobson said. “His teams have always played so well with the ball. I always hated playing against his team because if you lost the ball, it would be a long time until you saw it again.”
Jacobson has spent the last four months in Norway, competing for Stabaek in the Tippeligaen under the direction of former US national team coach Bob Bradley.
“I think Bob is a fantastic coach. He really explains what he thinks you can do to improve your game in a very clear way,” Jacobson said. “After that, he is persistent in pushing you to improve on those things every day. I really think I improved my positioning and awareness so much while I was there.”
Helping the transition to a new league and a new county was former LA Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens.
“It was really nice having Mikey there. He kind of showed me around the city and gave me a good feel for Oslo,” Jacobson said. “It was also nice to come in and see how well he was playing. It gave me a lot of confidence to get there and see another American playing so well.”
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With the exception of a one-game ban for yellow card accumulation, Jacobson started every minute of every game at Stabaek. He played as a holding midfielder and a box-to-box and attacking midfield, as well.
Jacobson even struck for a goal in a 3-2 win away at IK Start in September, firing a shot from 22 yards into the top corner to break a 1-1 tie in the 72nd minute.
“I won the ball at midfield and had an opportunity to break. Our forward pulled wide to force the defender into a decision,” Jacobson said. “That gave me a little space at the top of the box, and I was able to strike the ball cleanly.”
Now, back on American soil for the first time in months and following a belated Thanksgiving celebration, Jacobson will soon begin preparations for his first season with NYCFC.
“I want to be as sharp as possible going into preseason,” Jacobson said. “I look forward to being part of the beginning of a really top club that has a lot of ambition going forward.”