Mariano Rivera (second from the right): I’m a starter now, so I am very honored to be a big supporter of the team.” (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

This is a repost of a story that appeared in BigAppleSoccer.com on April 21, 2014.

By Michael Lewis

BRONX — The most famous closer in the world became a starter on Monday.

Mariano Rivera, who made a Major League Baseball record 652 saves in his 20-year career with the New York Yankees, became the first season ticket-hold for New York City FC.

The Yankees are co-owners of the Major League Soccer expansion team that is slated to begin competition at Yankee Stadium next year. Rivera, who retired from the Yankees last year, is a huge soccer fan, especially for Los Canaleros, aka the Panama national team.

During a press conference at the stadium Monday, the 44-year-old Rivera was introduced as the initial season-ticket holder.

“I’m proud to be the first one,” Rivera said. “I’m a starter now, so I am very honored to be a big supporter of the team. I wish the team the best. Definitely, you guys will have my support. Hopefully, many fans will come. I know in New York City; we have a lot of people who love soccer. It is what I do, too.”

Asked if he got a break on the tickets, Rivera replied, “Being the first one, well, there are some adjustments there. But that’s why you got more money.”

Rivera also revealed something about himself.

“Before I always said that soccer was my and it is still my No. 1 game,” he said. “Baseball just got in-between.”

The reporters at the press conference laughed.

“But thanks again for having this honor. Being here in New York, there’s no place better than that for the NYC team to be part here in New York City, especially … the right way, Yankee Stadium.”

Here is another story you might be interested in:

THE SOCCER CONNECTION: Repost: When Mariano Rivera supported, watched Panama close out Mexico in Gold Cup semis