Five years ago, almost to the day, NYCFC were at the IMG Academy in Florida going through preseason preparations. There was nothing abnormal or particularly newsworthy about the state of friendly calendar, next facing HB Koge, a midtable Danish second tier club. NYCFC won in a routine tune-up, a game many at the club would have long forgotten about.
But not everyone. That day an 18-year-old Malte Amundsen, then a rising Denmark youth international talent looking to make his way in his professional career, was on the Koge squad.
“That day is very clear in my mind," Amundsen told MLSsoccer.com. "I was in a training camp in Florida, we played NYCFC with [Andrea] Pirlo, [Frank] Lampard and David Villa. I was very young, it was a big day to play against these legends.”
Amundsen has found himself thinking about that day much more lately as, five years later, he has become the newest member of NYCFC. The left back was acquired from Vejle BK on Friday.
“I knew from the very first minute this is a very big club. It’s surreal that I got this chance, it’s a no-brainer. ... To be honest, it felt a little bit unreal," Amundsen said when he was first approached with interest from NYCFC. "The United States is far away, it’s a big league and New York is a big city, it felt unreal when I first heard about it. When they talked more and more, I understood this could be real. It’s an out-of-body feeling. It’s very nice.”
🤝🇩🇰🗽 #NYCFC— New York City FC (@NYCFC) February 12, 2021
Amundsen is a versatile left-sided player, though will settle in at left back with NYCFC. He is described as an athletic defender, one who is comfortable getting forward as a modern fullback.
He made 59 appearances with Vejle and has featured for Rosenborg and then-third tier German club Eintracht Braunschweig before arriving in New York.
“Malte is the type of left back we were looking for in this transfer window," Ronny Deila said in a club statement. "He is a very good 1v1 defender and likes to get stuck into tackles. His work rate is incredible and he will give everything he has for all 90 minutes. Modern full backs must be able to attack and Malte likes to get forward and provide service into the box. We’re looking forward to getting him into preseason with us. I know he’ll fight every day to make this team and himself better.”
"There was a need at left back and we prioritized getting competition in at that position," sporting director David Lee said. "For someone his age, he has already played a lot of professional matches and he is entering his peak with room to further develop here in New York. As a left back, he brings a balanced set of defensive and attacking qualities that fits the style of football we want to play. Off the pitch he possesses great character and will be a welcomed addition to our locker room. We’ll continue to add to our roster as we approach the beginning of preseason and having Malte signed is an exciting first step.”