New York City FC has signed former Chelsea captain Frank Lampard as a Designated Player to a two-year deal ahead of the club’s MLS debut next year.
Lampard, 36, confirmed his oft-rumored union with NYCFC in Brooklyn on Thursday morning. The unveiling ended months of speculation surrounding his future after he parted ways with Chelsea prior to the World Cup. Lampard started England’s third and final group match against Costa Rica before sealing his move to MLS.
"It’s a very, very exciting challenge for me in life terms," Lampard said during a press conference in Brooklyn on Thursday morning. "I had a fantastic 13 years at Chelsea. I can look back on that with immense pride, but it was certainly, I feel, a good time for myself and for Chelsea that I moved on."
The decision marks an end to Lampard’s wildly successful tenure with Chelsea. He served as the reliable midfield operator since signing for the club from West Ham back in 2001. He departed Chelsea as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals in all competitions and won four FA Cups, three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Europa League during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard will expect to bring the experience gained from those endeavors and his century of England caps to a nascent club in need of his leadership and his threat from midfield. He will combine with former Spanish international David Villa to form the the seasoned spine of the side as it joins MLS next season. He joins Villa, goalkeeper Josh Saunders and fullback Jeb Brovsky as part of Jason Kreis’ squad for the upcoming season.
"I’ve seen a real long-term plan from everyone involved in the club," Lampard said. "I wanted to be a part of that. I want to test myself. I want to carry on challenging myself. I want to be that leader, that person – not just someone on the pitch, but someone off the pitch who can help make these things happen."
Lampard also said he has not yet decided whether he plans to continue his international career with England.
"I now need to think about England and what I wanted to do with it. … It won’t be long. Now that I know where I’m playing next year, I can make that decision," Lampard said.