Joe Scally: “As a kid you always want to play in Europe and in one of the best leagues in the world. I couldn’t be happier.” (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
By Michael Lewis
After Joe Scally made his professional debut in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, then New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira said the 15-year-old was the future of the team.
Well, not anymore, at least not past 2020.
NYCFC transferred Scally Wednesday to Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany.
The Lake Grove, N.Y. resident will remain with City through the 2020 Major League Soccer season and will move to the Bundesliga team in January 2021.
In a press release, NYCFC said the deal was a seven-figure transfer fee. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported that the transfer fee was $2 million, which could increased to $7 million if Scally reaches potential bonuses. The club also said the transfer fee was the highest paid for a 16-year-old player in league history.
City said it also will receive a sell-on percentage if Scally is sold in the future.
“I was very excited when I heard the news about the transfer to Borussia Monchengladbach,” Scally said in a statement. “As a kid you always want to play in Europe and in one of the best leagues in the world. I couldn’t be happier.
“Looking towards next season, I hope to play a lot of minutes and help out the team as much as I can as we look to achieve our goals. It’s always the same for us, to finish first in the league and win MLS Cup.”
Scally became the first player to graduate the NYCFC Academy and be sold to a European club. He has not played in MLS, although he made his professional debut in the 2018 Open Cup in a losing effort to the Red Bulls.
“Joe is the future of our football club,” Vieira said that night. “He’s a really strong personality, he’s got talent. We have to work well with him in the next couple of years because I believe he’s got the potential to be the right back of this football club in the future.”
NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna, who played for Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg in Germany, felt Scally have a proper transition from the states to Europe with a year’s delay on his arrival in Europe.
“It’s very exciting for Joe to move to the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach and play in one of the best leagues in the world,” he said. “He’ll remain with us for the 2020 season, but during that time he’ll be able to go over to Germany and begin adapting to those surroundings, so when he goes in January 2021, he is able to hit the ground running.
“He’s still 16-years-old, so he has a lot of growth and development still to come. He works extremely hard, is very competitive, strives to get better and is a winner.
“This move is a culmination of work from our Academy staff and the Club to build him up from when he arrived as a 13-year-old to where he is today. I personally want to recognize the entire Academy for the work they’ve done in developing Joe. It’s extremely exciting for the Club and we’re very happy for him.”
Scally signed a Homegrown contract with NYCFC in March 2018, becoming the club’s second Academy product. At the time, he was the second-youngest player to ever sign a professional contract in MLS behind Freddy Adu.