Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison are at opposite ends of their careers, but the New York City FC teammates are linked by their native England.
Lampard, 38, and Harrison, 19, have taken an NYCFC (10-7-8, 38 points) team that missed the playoffs in its inaugural season last year to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Despite their age difference, Lampard and Harrison have a tight-knit relationship on and off the pitch.
“Well, I’m old enough to be his father, so that’s kind of strange,” said Lampard, one of NYCFC’s three designated players. “... He’s a great kid. He has a really good attitude. I think when you see that in young players, that kind of rubs off on everybody, and is a statement to the young players like Jack, not because he’s English, but he’s just brought a real energy to the locker room, to the field.”
Before NYCFC’s push to the top, the tandem sat on the sidelines recovering from injuries. Both worked out together, sharing their determination to get healthy.
Harrison, the top pick in the 2016 SuperDraft, made his first MLS start during a 3-2 loss against Real Salt Lake on June 2, and made an immediate impact with his first goal. The rookie has tallied three goals and three assists in 12 games.
Since Lampard’s first 2016 start and goal in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union on June 18, the club climbed their way to first. Since then, NYCFC has gone 6-1-1 in games where Lampard, Chelsea FC’s all-time leading scorer, has recorded a point.
To Harrison, his fellow Englishman is a “great role model” and “mentor.” While some on the NYCFC coaching staff hail from across the pond, Harrison said it is not the same as having a fellow Englishman alongside him on the pitch.
“I see him, and I see him working hard, and how professional he is about everything,” Harrison said of Lampard, who has nine goals in 13 games. “I try to incorporate that into the way I do things as well. It’s not just us two, it’s the whole team.”
NYCFC next hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy (9-3-11, 38 points) Saturday at Yankee Stadium.