James Sands went the entire 90 minutes for Rangers FC. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

What a whirlwind time for James Sands.

On Dec. 11, Sands and his New York City FC teammates celebrated winning their first MLS Cup championship at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

Some 38 days later on Tuesday, the 21-year-old midfielder found himself in the Starting XI of Rangers FC’s 1-1 draw at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.

On loan to the club, Sands acquitted himself well although his side struggled against the hosts.

Sportswriter James Cairney of The Herald in Scotland wrote that “Sands made it through this first test relatively unscathed” in what was a “frenetic and frenzied.”

Sands, who played the entire 90 minutes, did not do anything outstanding, playing it close to the vest with simple passes to teammates.

“The occasional neat pass in the final third suggested there is some potential here,” Cairney wrote.

“The task awaiting him could have been daunting but if it was, the midfielder didn’t show it,” Cairney added. “Up against Scott Brown and Lewis Ferguson – two experienced, capable operators and one of the strongest midfield pairings in the Premiership – Sands did not look out of place as he jostled with the Aberdeen duo.”

On Jan. 5, NYCFC loaned Sands to Rangers FC through June 30, 2023. Rangers will have an option to permanently transfer James at the end of the loan.

A native of Rye, N.Y., Sands made his U.S. men’s national team debut during last summer’s Gold Cup.

Sands and his Rangers teammates won’t have to wait until their next game. They host Stirling Albion in the Scottish F.A. Cup on Friday.

For Cairney’s full story, visit:


Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.