Daniel Bedoya: “Playing for the team of my city, it’s just a great opportunity for me and I’m very excited.” (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
By Michael Lewis
Now, here is something you don’t see in Major League Soccer everyday:
A player to makes a jump from a fourth division club to a first team squad.
Long Island Rough Riders midfielder Daniel Bedoya did just that, signing with New York City FC Thursday.
A former standout at St. John’s University and East Elmhurst, N.Y. resident, Bedoya performed for NYCFC’s Premier Development League affiliate.
Bedoya had been training since impressing the City coaching staff during a recent mid-week scrimmage between the Rough Riders and the MLS side at Etihad City Football Academy.
“We watched the friendly game and we saw this player, Danny, and saw he has a special quality to play in between the lines,” NYCFC head coach Domenec Torrent said.
“His position is in between Maxi [Moralez] and Jesus [Medina]. He has control all the time and he understands soccer which is very important for me. He’s a smart player. I’m sure 100 percent he’s able to help the team.”
With the Riders, the 24-year-old Bedoya recorded four goals and three assists in 21 appearances this past season.
“It’s awesome that I’m in the city that I was raised in,” said Bedoya, who emigrated from Colombia to Queens with his family when he was eight. “Playing for the team of my city, it’s just a great opportunity for me and I’m very excited.
“The first training sessions, there was obviously a lot of nerves, but the guys have been great ever since I came in, they were very friendly, very nice. The leaders on the team like Maxi, David [Villa, team captain] and all of them have been helpful.
“I think I just have to keep working in training, I just have to grind it out, work my way to a roster spot and we go from there.”
Bedoya was a member of the New York Red Bulls Academy and played for Red Bull II from 2015 to 2017, making 25 USL appearances.
NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna was quite happy the club was able to find a prospect from the Riders.
“The relationship with Long Island Rough Riders and PDL is very positive,” he said. “We’re able to get a friendly game with them and see some of these players up close. You can see why we have relationships like this because at any moment you can find a player like Danny and we’re really happy with Long Island and the work they’re doing.”