Former Sporting KC midfielder Lopez joins NYCFC

Mikey Lopez NYCFC

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

New York City FC claimed former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Mikey Lopez off of waivers this afternoon.

Lopez, 22, was a former US U20 international who made 13 appearances for Sporting KC since 2013. He has also spent time on loan to Orlando City and Oklahoma City Energy in the USL.

“I feel really good. I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Lopez said. “I’m thankful that Patrick and Claudio were confident in me and offered me this opportunity. I cannot wait to become a part of the vibrant feel in Yankee Stadium and play in front of these amazing fans. I will work very hard to the very end. I’m going to give my 100% at all times.”

Lopez was drafted 13th overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft but failed to solidify a starting role with the team. He will have far less competition at NYCFC who have been looking for a defensive midfielder who can cover ground and break up opposing attacks.

Head coach Patrick Vieira said Lopez fills the club’s needs.

“Mikey knows the league well which is a real benefit for us,” Vieira said. “He’s only 22 years old but has been around the league since he was 19. I think he brings something to the group that we currently lack. He’s comfortable in possession, but his strength is closing the opposition down and winning the ball back for the team. He will cover a lot of ground; every coach wants players like this on their team. It’s great that he’s been able to join up with the group in Florida already and is ready to start training.”

Lopez was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011 when he won the National Championship with the University of North Carolina. He joins NYCFC for preseason training in Florida.