New York City FC signs James Sands as first homegrown player

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The teenager impressed the club while playing with the first team during preseason, and has now signed his first pro deal

New York City FC has announced that it has signed defender James Sands as the first homegrown player in the club's history.

Sands, 16, was a member of affiliate team New York Soccer Club until NYCFC added him to its academy in 2015. 

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“I’m really excited – this is a big dream come true for me from ever since I was little kid playing in my back yard to now," Sands told the club's official website

"Especially when you look at how in just a few short years NYCFC has grown – to be the first homegrown player is really special for me."

Sands, who can play in defense or defensive midfield, is a regular with the U.S. U-17 team and helped John Hackworth's side qualify for October's U-17 World Cup in India.

“I’m really glad for James because he came with us on preseason and he did really well, showing us how good he is," head coach Patrick Vieira said. 

"He fully deserves this contract, he’s a young talent and now we have to help him to develop that talent." 

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