John Stertzer scored two goals in three preseason games for NYC FC. (Photo courtesy of NYC FC)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
Two out of three certainly was good enough for John Stertzer.
Stertzer scored a goal in two of the three preseason games he played for New York City FC and that was good enough for head coach Patrick Vieira.
On Thursday, the 26-year-old midfielder signed a Major League Soccer contract with the club.
“What I like about John is his attitude and his work ethic,” Vieira said. “He’s a really smart player who is a goal-scorer. 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.”
The 26-year-old Stertzer scored against Jacksonville University and C.S. Emelec in his first two preseason matches and impressive in the 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls in Tucson, Ariz. Wednesday.
“It feels great,” he said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity NYC FC have given me to come in and try to earn the spot. From day one, I’ve felt like I was at home, everyone has been so open and welcoming, giving me the confidence to push forward.”
Stertzer said he grew up watching Vieira star for the French national team.
“I feel like I’ve already learned so much from the first camp right through to now,” he said. “I’m learning so much every day.
“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.”
As it turns out, the 6-foot, 170-lb. Stertzer scored his lone MLS goal for Real Salt Lake against NYC FC in 2015. A University of Maryland standout, he played 48 times for RSL in five seasons.
“We think he’s going to compete for playing time in midfield,” City sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “He’s a very pleasant surprise in terms of how quickly he’s adapted to the way in which Patrick wants to play.
“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. We saw very early that he was someone who could help us.”