New York City FC Monday announced that Scottish international Gary Mackay-Steven has joined the club after his contract with Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen FC expired.
The 28-year-old veteranis a left-footed winger as he signed a multi-year contract.
Mackay-Steven will join the squad upon receiving a P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate. He will be eligible to play after July 9, when Major League Soccer’s secondary transfer window opens.
“I’m delighted to finally sign on the dotted line,” Mackay-Steven said. “I can’t wait to hit the ground running and make my debut in the blue shirt. I can’t wait to show what I can do to the fans in Yankee Stadium.
“The lure of playing in America and in MLS is really attractive to me. It’s always been a draw for me, it’s hard to say no. I can’t wait to get started.”
Mackay-Steven has been impressed with the way City (5-1-8, 24 points), which is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, has played this season.
“You see NYCFC from afar and the way they play football is the way it should be played,” he said. “A player like me, coming into an atmosphere when the philosophy is in place, it is going to be enjoyable. I want to learn as much as I can and hopefully hit the ground running.
“I like to take people on in the 1 v 1 situations. I like to make things happen and to get fans off their seats. Hopefully I can do that in New York and show what I’m all about. I feel everything is in place to win a trophy. A squad like New York, with the structure in place, it’s really in the team’s grasps and hopefully I can chip in with goals and assists.”
Mackay-Steven’s youth career began in 2007 at Ross County, before spells in Fulham and Liverpool’s Academy setups led to a move to Airdrie United, where he made his professional debut in 2011.
His promising start at Airdrie led to a transfer to Dundee United where he made his name, featuring on more than 100 occasions and scoring 21 league goals before earning a transfer to 50-time Scottish champions Celtic.
There, he won the title in back-to-back-to-back years, also lifting a Scottish Cup in 2016 before his move to Aberdeen, where he scored 16 goals in 72 appearances in all competitions.
NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said that Mackay-Steven has been on the club’s radar for some time.
“He’s an out-and-out winger that can play on both sides of the pitch and strengthens our attacking options,” he said.
“We have a core group of experienced players who form the spine of our team and Gary possesses the same leadership qualities that already exist in our locker room. He’s played in big games in Europe and has been part of title-winning teams and we’re really excited to have him join NYCFC.”
Mackay-Steven has earned two caps, making his debut in 2013. In October 2018, he ended a five-year wait for a second appearance, assisting a goal as a second half substitute for Scotland vs. Portugal at Hampden Park.
“Gary brings the qualities that this club is looking for in an attacking player,” NYCFC head coach Dome Torrent said. “He’s very good on the ball and likes to run at players in 1 v 1 situations.
“When he is on the wing, he delivers a quality ball into the box, but can also cut inside and cause the opponent’s defenders a lot of trouble. He is another talented attacker that I can now choose from.”