James Sands has become a regular in the NYCFC lineup. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
It looks like James Sands will be with New York City FC for a while.
NYCFC Thursday announced that the 20-year-old midfielder had signed a five-year contract extension with the MLS club.
The Rye, N.Y. native became NYCFC’s first Homegrown signing in 2017 and has made 39 appearances with the team.
“Signing a contract extension with NYCFC is a moment to celebrate and a reward for all the hard work I’ve put in throughout the last few years,” Sands said in a statement. “It means a lot to me to help create that pathway for young players to really make an impact and push past the first contract.
“To do it at a Club like NYCFC is so special. I’ve been given so much room to grow here and being at this club for an extended period has helped me to improve in so many areas both on and off the pitch. Ending this season with some sort of trophy would be a huge success and it’s certainly a goal of mine.
“Long-term, playing at a top level in Europe has always been my dream and still is. The Club is in a good position to help me achieve my goals. I’m thankful they understand my ambitions and it’s why I’m so comfortable signing an extension here.”
Sands has represented the United States at the Under-17 World Cup, scored the winning penalty kick in the club’s first U-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy final and became the first NYCFC player to be selected to the MLS Homegrown Game.
“We’re really pleased James has signed a new contract with the Club and this moment is well deserved,” City sporting director David Lee said. The extension speaks to his performances for the First Team over the past two seasons as well as his overall development since signing as our first Homegrown.
“He has become an integral part of our team and consistently plays at a very high level. His work ethic and professionalism both on and off the pitch sets a wonderful example for all our Academy players who are looking to follow in his footsteps. James has such a bright future and we’re looking forward to helping him continue to maximize his potential as a player to help him play at the highest level possible.”
In his first season under head Ccoach Ronny Deila, Sands logged 1,409 minutes in sixteen starts before missing the final month of the season through injury. Sands was named No. six on the League’s “22 Under-22″ list towards the end of the 2020 season.
“I’ve been very impressed with James since meeting him on my first day in New York,” Deila said. “It’s always a challenge for young players to come in and earn their place, but James has done that and will continue to be a big part of our team this season. He has a bright future and we’re excited for his development to continue here at NYCFC.”