Draft Day Drama As NYCFC Get Jack Harrison From Chicago Fire

NYCFC finally got their guy.

After failing to get Jack Harrison with a Homegrown claim, NYCFC did some draft day wheeling and dealing to get Wake Forest’s Jack Harrison from the Chicago Fire in exchange for their 4th pick and allocation money. The Fire used NYCFC’s pick to get Stanford fullback Brandon Vincent.

“I’m happy to play anywhere,” said Harrison after waiting for around 30 minutes before the move became official. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Harrison also mentioned his time with the Manhattan Soccer Club when talking about how excited he was to join NYCFC. NYCFC’s homegrown claim for Harrison was a point of contention for many throughout the league before it was reportedly rejected by the league.

“I am really excited,” said Harrison when talking about what his future holds in the Big Apple. “I’m looking forward to working with Patrick Vieira and working with some great players. It’s great to be back in Manhattan. I’m happy to be back in New York City, it’s been my second home since moving to the United States, so I’m really excited.”

A box-to-box midfielder, Harrison made his presence felt in the final third with eight goals and eleven assists in his first collegiate year with Wake Forest. The Manchester United academy product could be used in a variety of roles in NYCFC’s loaded midfield including on the wing in an attacking role.

A dynamic player, Harrison can take on defenders in the attacking third, set up others from various parts of the field, and can score from distance with his shooting ability. Hailing from Bolton, England, Harrison can score off free kicks, cross into the box, and beat defenders with his creativity and pace.

“He’s a modern winger,” said NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira. “He can come inside, he can go on the line, he can score goals, and he’s really good in the 1-v-1 situations. He’s the type of modern winger than you like to have in the team. He’s young, but I’m sure he will have a massive part to play in our squad. He’s enthusiastic, he’s full of energy, and this is what we want.”

With Harrison’s inclusion into the team, there will now be speculation over how Patrick Vieira will be able to get everyone involved. Whether the likes of Kwadwo Poku or Mix Diskerud are now expendable as they intend to develop Harrison is now up for speculation.

Harrison, the 2014-15 Gatorade Player of the Year, had a possible move to Europe ahead but instead elected to go with MLS by signing a Generation Adidas deal. At the Berkshire High School in Sheffield, Massachussets before college, Harrison accumulated 24 goals and 33 assists in three seasons and won the Gatorade Massachusetts Soccer Player of the Year award. The two-time NSCAA All-American could prove to be a valuable addition to New York City’s midfield for many years ahead.

“Not only is he a player for the future, but we think he can contribute right away in an attacking position,” said NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna on Harrison’s potential impact. “He’s a great kid. He’s been in the New York area for the last three years at Manhattan Soccer Club playing for one of our Youth Affiliates. It’s a great story, but more than anything we got a fantastic kid and an excellent player.”

NYCFC’s trade for the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft will be one of the biggest stories from the day as teams enhanced their rosters. The Philadelphia Union was particularly busy in the first round after taking Josh Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, and Fabian Herbers with the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th picks. Real Salt Lake acquired Omar Holness with the fifth pick while Orlando City selected Generation Adidas midfielder Richie Laryea at the 7th pick.

For Harrison, the young Englishman will now get his opportunity to create havoc on the field at Yankee Stadium in the upcoming season. “The fans at Yankee Stadium are just amazing,” said Harrison when speaking about the fan atmosphere. “I’ve been to matches there – so I’m greatly looking forward to playing in front of them and hopefully giving them lots to cheer about. I’m just so excited to be a part of this Club.”

Photo Credit: SBI Soccer