Nearly a year after it was announced Frank Lampard would be signing a two-year deal with NYCFC, the English midfielder will finally debut for his new club at 3 p.m. Sunday against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. Here are three things to know about one of Europe’s most respected soccer legends before his highly anticipated arrival stateside.
Premier League stardom
While Lampard, 37, has played on four different English Premier League clubs since he made his professional debut in 1995, he is most celebrated for his brilliant 13-year tenure with Chelsea FC from 2001-2014. In that time, he became the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals and remains the only midfielder to have at least 150 goals in EPL history.
Lampard will be expected to do more than just score for NYCFC (5-8-5), as his 173 career assists rank second all-time in the Premier League.
Throughout his international career, Lampard has been capped 106 times by the English national team, sixth-most all-time. After playing in three World Cups — advancing as far as the quarterfinals in 2006 — he announced his retirement from international soccer last August. Lampard finished with 29 goals in his 15 years with England.
Transition to NYCFC
It is unrealistic to expect an aging Lampard to re-emerge as the record-shattering type of superstar he was earlier in his career, but he can still raise NYCFC’s attack once he’s adjusted to a new system with new teammates. Lampard can be deployed at any midfield position and immediately becomes an offensive focal point considering midfielder Mix Diskerud will miss Sunday’s match to play with the U.S. national team.
Lampard wont be the last of NYCFC’s European imports, as Italian icon Andrea Pirlo is expected to make his debut July 26 against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium.