Newspaper article International New York Times

Lampard Eager to Finally Start M.L.S. Career ; Midfielder Will Make His New York City F.C. Debut This Weekend

Newspaper article International New York Times

Lampard Eager to Finally Start M.L.S. Career ; Midfielder Will Make His New York City F.C. Debut This Weekend

Article excerpt

Frank Lampard will make his first start for New York City F.C. on Sunday, nearly a year after he first signed with the club

Frank Lampard, sitting at a brown oval table in a hotel business room, embraced an opportunity both to reflect and to look forward.

Nearly one year after New York City F.C., an expansion club in its first year, announced his signing, Lampard -- an immensely successful English midfielder -- will make his debut for the team on Sunday at Yankee Stadium in New York against Toronto F.C.

"I've had my time in the Premier League, in Europe," Lampard, 37, told a small group of reporters before being reintroduced at a news conference Tuesday. "I'm fully focused here."

New York City F.C. announced on July 24, 2014, that Lampard's two- year contract would begin on Aug. 1 of that year.

Lampard then played the first half of the English Premier League season on what was supposed to be a short-term deal with Manchester City, N.Y.C.F.C.'s parent club, that had been set to expire on Jan. 1.

But Lampard, the most prolific scoring midfielder in Premier League history, had a strong start, scoring six goals in his first 17 appearances.

"The opportunity originally was to play for four or five months to keep me fit, to play at a good level," Lampard said. "I didn't imagine I'd probably be able to make the impact I did in the first half of the season for City."

Manchester City announced that it had extended Lampard's contract through the end of the Premier League season, which precluded him from joining New York City F.C. for the start of the Major League Soccer season in March.

"They wanted me to stay on, so that was -- it was quite simple in that way," Lampard said. "I've been watching from afar, particularly when the team were losing a few games early season, and it was difficult for me not to be here because I like to think I'm quite a straight fellow, and my word is to sign for New York. …

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