New York City FC made the first player signing anywhere in the soccer world in 2018 when at 5 am ET on Sunday they announced a four-year deal with 20-year-old Paraguayan international Jesus Medina, who joins the club on a transfer from Club Libertad.
The left-footed attacking midfielder will occupy the lone remaining Designated Player spot on the NYCFC roster, vacated by the retirement of Andrea Pirlo in the offseason.
“We believe that he’s a special talent," NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said in a club statement. "Jesus has got talent, he’s got pace, he’s a really good dribbler, and he’s somebody who can assist and score goals as well. For a player of such a young age, he has a really strong character and I think he will be a great addition.”
“Jesus is a talented attacking player who can play as a winger or number 10 and will fit really well into our system and style of play," added NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. "He is a left-footed technical player with a quick turn of pace, who can score and create goals for his teammates."
Medina is a five-time Paraguayan champion with Libertad, where he debuted at the age of 15, and he helped them to the semifinals of the 2017 Copa Sudamericana. He has 17 goals in 74 appearances with the club and has featured for his country's Under-17 and Under-20 teams before breaking through with the senior national team in July 2017 against Mexico.
"It’s a privilege to be here," Medina told NYCFC.com. “My first thought when I heard of the interest was that it was a great club, an important club in the United States – it’s a great feeling ... It’s also such a special feeling to have a World Cup winner with France as a head coach [Patrick Vieira]. I think training with such an experienced professional, at my young age, will help me as a player and will hopefully be a great experience for me. He will teach me a lot.”
Medina becomes the fourth signing of the offseason for NYCFC following the acquisitions of right backs Saad Abdul-Salaam and Anton Tinnerholm, as well as goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
He's also the most recent in a growing influx of young South American talent over recent months, highlighted by the transfer of attacking sensation and eventual MLS Newcomer of the Year Miguel Almiron. Fellow Paraguayans Cristhian Paredes (19yrs) and Josue Colman (19yrs) have also been linked to MLS clubs during the offseason.
Other talents that made the move north to MLS include: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United / Argentina), Anthony Blondell (Vancouver / Venezuela), Cristian Colman (FC Dallas / Paraguay), Franco Escobar (Atlanta / Argentina), Jose Hernandez (Atlanta / Venezuela), Yangel Herrera (NYCFC / Venezuela), Josef Martinez (Atlanta / Venezuela), Tomas Martinez (Houston / Argentina), Diego Rossi (LAFC / Uruguay), Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake / Venezuela), Yordy Reyna (Vancouver / Peru) and Hector "Tito" Villalba (Atlanta / Argentina).
|New York City FC|
|ROSTERED PLAYERS (20 of 30 spots filled as of Dec. 31, 2017):|
GK (3): Sean Johnson, Andre Rawls, Brad Stuver
OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS (4): Saad Abdul-Salaam, Jesus Medina, Brad Stuver, Anton Tinnerholm