(Frank Lampard saluting the fans in a game this season – USA Today Sports)
Frank Lampard is set to leave New York City Football Club when his contract expires at the end of 2016.
Lampard, the beloved English midfielder who played most of his career at Chelsea, was the first signing by NYCFC in 2014.
That year, Manchester City, the parent club, decided to have Lampard start the 2014-15 season with them to keep him in shape ahead of the March 2015 debut of NYCFC.
Lampard did so well there that Manchester City kept him for the entirety of their season, delaying his arrival in New York. Between that and injuries, Lampard did not debut with NYCFC until August 2015 and it took a while for the fans to warm up to him.
After missing the first three months of this season with a calf injury, Lampard became the scoring threat people were used to seeing.
Lampard had 12 goals in 19 games, and assured his place in club history with the team’s first-ever hat-trick against the Colorado Rapids on July 30, 2016.
Lampard was a big reason NYCFC made the MLS Playoffs for the very first time as they finished in second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 15-9-10, 54 points.
Lampard told NYCFC.com: “As my time at NYCFC comes to an end, I would like to thank so many people for the kindness and support that they have shown me over the last two years.
“My teammates have been a pleasure to play alongside. The amazing fans have given me incredible support and backing.
“I have very much enjoyed my time, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play for such a great club and in such an incredible city.”
For Lampard’s Head Coach, Patrick Vieira, Frank’s influence at NYCFC transcended even his stellar efforts on the field of play.
Vieira said, “Everybody talks about Frank’s goal-scoring record from midfield but I can tell you after a year of working with him, he brings so much more to a team than just goals.”
“What Frank has brought to the locker room is something just as important – his experience, his elite mentality and his mentorship for the younger members of our squad have helped us greatly this year.”
“It is clear that Frank has embraced playing in this league and for this club. I am grateful for his service in my first year here and I wish him the very best in whatever he chooses to do next.”
Sporting Director Claudio Reyna echoed Vieira’s sentiments and expressed his gratitude to Lampard.
“On and off the pitch he has been a fantastic ambassador. I would tell any young player to watch Frank, to see how he’s conducted himself over the last two years and to use that as inspiration as to how an elite, professional footballer should approach the game” said Reyna. “From the second he walked through the door, he’s set the example.”
“Frank will always be part of the history of this club and we thank him for playing an important role in so many special moments in our young history.”
In two seasons, Lampard made 31 appearances for NYCFC, scoring 15 goals.