Man City, Yankees join for birth of MLS’s 20th side

It’s official:  Major League Soccer finally announced its 20th franchise; and as expected, it’s a second team for the New York City metro area.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber was joined this morning by top executives from the English Premier League’s Manchester City FC, and Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, to announce that Man City and the Bronx Bombers have joined forces to establish New York City FC (or NYCFC, for short).

The new club is expected to begin play in 2015; homes both temporary and permanent are still in the process of being secured, though it is ultimately expected the team will make its home in the Flushing Meadow section of the borough of Queens.  Colors and a kit design will likely be rolled out as the team prepares for its opening season.

The new squad has already established a website and Twitter account (@NYCFC), while Man City have previously established a youth soccer foundation with locations in New York (since 2010) and around the United States, called “City Soccer in the Community.”

“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” said Garber in an e-mail sent to fans. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country.”

Garber hopes that this new squad will rapidly establish a “derby” rivalry with the existing New York Red Bulls, one of the league’s founding clubs (as the New York-New Jersey MetroStars) in 1996, who play across the Hudson River in Harrison, N.J.  Said Garber, “The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, in a release on Manchester City’s website, “Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage — in New York City.  New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for.”

Manchester City, who are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group (headed by billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from the United Arab Emirates), will be the managing partner in the venture, with the Yankees as a minority investor.  City will be invading Yankee Stadium this weekend for an exhibition game against league-mates Chelsea FC.

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