Transition time continues for NYCFC before the start of their 2020 season. With a new coach set to be announced for the departed Domenec Torrent, New York City FC on Tuesday announced that Homegrown defender Tayvon Gray has signed his first professional contract with the Club becoming the first Bronx native to sign with NYCFC.
It’s a homecoming for Gray and he will take his talents close to home. NYCFC home games are played at Yankee Stadium
Gray said: “I’m very excited to sign with New York City FC. I’m a Bronx kid and this is my hometown team, so to start my professional career in New York City is a dream come true.
“When I first heard about NYCFC, the team was very new, but once I saw what the Club was all about, I definitely wanted to play for them. I’ll be proud to represent my team in the Bronx. My family is still here, so it will be very exciting to have them at games.
The 17-year-old and U.S. youth international is NYCFC’s fourth player to graduate from the Academy ranks, joining James Sands, Joe Scally and Justin Haak.
“There are too many people to thank. I’d like to thank God, my family for the support and love to help me get to this point, and everyone in the Academy staff. I’ve learned from some incredible coaches and played with some great teammates over the years and I wouldn’t have been able to get here without them.”
NYCFC Sporting Director David Lee said: “Tayvon’s been in our Academy for the past few years and has really developed over the last 18 months and we couldn’t be more excited for him to join our First Team and be with us for the future Signing the contract is the first step for him to continue his development. He has a lot of potential and can play a number of positions.”
This past season, NYCFC finished as the top seed in the MLS Eastern Conference and lost in the conference finals to Toronto at Yankee Stadium.
“We’ve seen him as a future Homegrown player for a while and we’re really delighted to complete the signing,” said Lee.
Gray has been a centerpiece of the NYCFC Academy since joining the Club in 2017 with the U-17s. In 2019, he anchored the backline on the U-19 team who became the first Club to win back-to-back U-19 U.S. Development Academy National Championships.
NYCFC Academy Director Sam Pugsley said: “Tayvon’s pathway to professional soccer is a great success story. He started in the talent centers that we run and after performing well, he came into the Academy, and coming from the Bronx, it’s extra special.
“Over the years, with Rodrigo Marion and Matt Pilkington’s coaching, guidance and leadership on the field day-to-day, he really matured and got to the point he’s at today.
“Tayvon has been an integral part of what we’ve built here and the success we’ve had on the field. He’s a great person and you see his joy when he’s on the field and how much he enjoys playing soccer.”
Gray was one of five Academy players to join the Club’s 2019 preseason in Abu Dhabi and continued to train with the First Team regularly throughout the season.
Recently, Gray started two matches for the United States U-17 National Team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Gray will join the First Team full-time when the Club opens preseason on January 11.
The defender said: “Since I began with the Academy, my goal was to one day make it to the First Team. I’ve been able to train and go on preseason with them before, but to now sign a professional contract is an amazing feeling. I’m ready to work as hard as I can to help this team achieve what we all want, to win MLS Cup.”
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