Brazilian forward Heber has joined NYCFC from Croatian team HNK Rejeka. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
Needing some offensive punch up front, New York City FC Thursday announced that Brazilian striker Héber Araujo dos Santos has joined the club from Croatian side HNK Rijeka.
Heber is subject to receipt of a P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate. The 27-year-old striker was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money.
NYCFC head coach Domenec Torrent indicated two weeks ago that the team would be signing a forward to bolster an frontline that has been lacking since captain David Villa decided to play in Japan after four seasons with the club.
“It’s been a priority for the club to sign a striker this season and we’re very happy to welcome Héber to NYCFC,” Torrent said. “He is a player who is very comfortable inside the opponent’s area and was a proven goalscorer during his time in Europe.
“He has an excellent record of goals and assists throughout the years and will be a quality addition to our attacking options.”
None of City’s forwards have found the net in the opening three matches of the Major League Soccer season as the team has played three consecutive draws.
“I’m feeling super motivated for this new challenge in my life,” Heber said. “I hope to reach great things with my new teammates for this club. When they showed me the project and what they plan to reach, those were the fundamental points that helped my decision to come to NYCFC.
“I saw the project and the whole structure, videos about the league and the city, these were all very important aspects. I’m sure it will be an amazing step in my career. My message to all of NYCFC is that you can expect the best Héber can gave. A player with a lot of willpower, determination and strength on the pitch. I’ll give everything with this shirt, in order to achieve great results for our team.”
The 5-11, 170-lb. Heber joined HNK Rijeka in 2017 and scored 25 goals in 38 appearances for the club.
During the 2017-18 season, Héber won the “SN Yellow Shirt Award,” the highest honor awarded to a Croatian first division player, after a season him saw him play and score in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages. The Brazilian also led Rijeka to the UEFA Europa League group stages that same season.
“Héber is a very mobile and lively center forward who has pace to run in behind the defense, but also has the ability to drop back and link with our midfield players,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “He has a really good nose for the goal and can score in many different ways. We’re looking forward to having Héber join the team. He’s going to bring a new element to our attack that is going the be exciting.”
Héber rose through the youth ranks at Figueirense in his native Brazil where he graduated through to the first-team and made 28 domestic league appearances.
Prior to his time in Croatia, Héber played in the Armenian Premier League for Alashkert where he earned the title of top goalscorer for the 2015/2016 season.
That earned him a move to NK Slaven Belupo where he scored 10 goals in 30 appearances, prompting the move to Rijeka.