by Christian Araos
John Stertzer has earned a contract for the 2017 season. New York City FC said Thursday that it has signed the midfielder after inviting him on trial.
Stertzer started both of NYCFC’s preseason games and scored the game-tying goal against Emelec of Ecuador in second-half stoppage time. He also scored in the team’s preseason scrimmage with Jacksonville University. Stertzer told NYCFC.com that the club made him feel welcome and has boosted his confidence as a player.
“It feels great – I’m so grateful for the opportunity NYCFC have given me to come in and try to earn the spot,” Stertzer said.
“I grew up watching Patrick [Vieira] as a player and he’s such a great coach — I feel like I’ve already learned so much from the first camp right through to now — I’m learning so much every day,” he said. “I’m super happy to be here and now I just want to repay the faith that’s been shown in me and make the fans happy, not just in preseason but in the MLS season.”
Stertzer is City’s fourth signing of the week. The club signed Maxi Moralez to be its third designated player, added Yangel Herrera on loan from Manchester City, then traded for the right to sign Rodney Wallace. Like Wallace, Stertzer brings MLS experience to a young, multinational squad. Stertzer made 48 appearances in five seasons with Real Salt Lake. He is a box-to-box midfielder who Coach Patrick Vieira said can be an attacking threat as well.
“What I like about John is his attitude and his work ethic – he’s a really smart player who is a goalscorer,” Vieira said. “The timing of his runs inside the box is really good – he’s always at the right place at the right time and his finishing is excellent. He’s someone has really fought for a spot and he will bring a lot of competition for his position. To add one more quality player to our roster is really pleasing.”
Stertzer is the third University of Maryland alum on NYCFC’s roster joining Wallace and Ethan White. He scored 25 goals in 79 games at Maryland and was named first-team All Atlantic Coast Conference in both his junior and senior years. Sporting director Claudio Reyna said that Stertzer was able to settle into the team and adapt to Vieira’s style of play almost right away.
“John’s got a great attitude and is a player who has shown his determination in wanting to come in and earn a contract right from the start,” Reyna said.“We saw very early that he was someone who could help us and so we’re excited to add him to the squad.”