Yangel Herrera: “I’m looking forward to playing under Patrick Vieira as he’s someone who played my position and I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from him.” (Photo courtesy of New York City FC)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
New York City FC shored up its defensive midfield position with some young, fresh legs Tuesday by adding Venezuelan international Yangel Herrera on loan from its parent club, Manchester City.
The 19-year-old Herrera’s loan is pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate. He captained Venezuela to a third-place finish at the South American Under-20 Championship.
“Although Yangel is just starting out on his career, we believe he will make an impact in Major League Soccer once he’s settled into a new country and has adapted to our system of play.
“He’s a tactically intelligent midfielder who is strong in the tackle and reads the game well,” NYC FC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “Yangel also has good passing range and spatial awareness, which is crucial for a player in his position. I look forward to welcoming him to our squad after the South American Championship where he’s been playing very well for Venezuela.”
A defensive midfielder, the 6-foot, 174-lb. Yangel had joined the English Premier League club from Atletico Venezuela Jan. 31.
“I’m very happy to take this next step in my career,” Herrera said. “To have the opportunity to play with such a high caliber of players is very exciting and to join a team that has a good football philosophy is very important to me.
“I’m looking forward to playing under Patrick Vieira as he’s someone who played my position and I know I’ll be able to learn a lot from him. I want to absorb all the good things from Patrick and the other players.”
Herrera began his youth career at Monagas SC before he joined Atletico last year. He played in 32 matches for Atletico, helping the team to the Venezuelan national championship semifinals.
In 2016, he made his international debut in a 2006 loss to Brazil in a 2-0 defeat last year.
In the recent South American U-20 competition, Herrera tallied in a 1-1 tie with Peru and again in the final stage opener, a 4-2 triumph over host Ecuador.
“Yangel is recognized as an extremely promising young player in South America and we’re looking forward to seeing him develop during his time with us in New York,” City sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “We feel NYC FC will be a fantastic place for him to play, particularly working with Patrick Vieira who has excellent experience working with young players.”