USMNT star comes home! James Sands sent back to NYCFC after Rangers opt not to make loan deal permanent

Sands Rangers 2022Getty
  • Sands returns to NYCFC
  • Rangers opt not to make loan permanent
  • USMNT midfielder/defender signs new deal with NYCFC

WHAT HAPPENED? Sands moved to Glasgow after the 2021 MLS Cup, making 41 appearances for the Scottish giants while featuring in the 2021-22 Europa League final. However, in recent months, he'd fallen out of favor, with the club opting not to pay the $4.8 million (£4 million) fee it would take to sign him permanently, per the Daily Record.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sands, who has now signed a new contract with NYCFC through the 2027 season, emerged as one of the USMNT's most versatile young stars during his time in MLS, proving solid at both center back and as a defensive midfielder. He was the club's first Homegrown signing in 2017 and went on to make 76 appearances before moving to Rangers.

As the 2026 World Cup cycle begins, Sands could play a bigger role with the USMNT, as he looks to build on the seven caps he's earned thus far.

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WHAT WAS SAID: “I am excited to return to New York," Sands said. "As someone who grew up in New York and played for local youth teams and the NYCFC academy, it was and continues to be a great honor to represent this Club. NYCFC has had a tremendous impact on my development, the Club's support of my initial step in Europe and continued understanding of my career goals has been very important to me.

“I would like to thank Rangers for the fantastic opportunity to play with a top-notch European team. Reaching the Europa League final, playing in the Champions League, and winning the Scottish Cup are just a few of the many positive memories that I will take away with me. The level of support from the Rangers’ fans is second to none."

AND WHAT'S MORE: Sands added: “As I return to New York, I am looking forward to playing with some of my former teammates as well as many new ones. I’m excited about the Club's vision for the future and hope I can use my experience abroad to help the Club achieve its goals and bring home some more silverware for our incredible fans.”


James Sands New York City FC 2021Getty ImagesJames Sands USMNT 2021Getty

WHAT NEXT? Sands could make his return to NYCFC as soon as this weekend, when the club faces the Chicago Fire in their second match of the MLS season.