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NYCFC's Wingert, a St. John's alum, relishes return to city

Chris Wingert, right, and New York City FC

Chris Wingert, right, and New York City FC played to a draw against Orlando City SC in both franchise's first MLS match on Saturday, Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alex Menendez

New York City FC defender Chris Wingert said he planned on being at Madison Square Garden to watch St. John's play in the Big East tournament.

It's part of what the former Red Storm standout called a dream come true for him since his return to the area where he grew up to play for New York's new MLS soccer team.

"These are just things that I could never do if I was playing on another team or outside the city," Wingert said at yesterday's media day.

The Babylon, Long Island, native has more than 100 people he knows coming to cheer him on in NYCFC's home opener at Yankee Stadium on Sunday against the New England Revolution. It's part of a reality that hasn't exactly caught up to the dream that's taking place.

"Maybe it won't until Sunday and even then it'll be a little bit surreal," he said. "I'm going to enjoy the moment, being out there and everything that Sunday has to offer, but that being said, I'll be able to focus on the game."

The 12-year MLS veteran is living in Manhattan and plans to either take the subway or catch rides with other players to practices in White Plains.

"I have my car in the city right now, but it's unnecessary for anything else I need to do," Wingert said. "I think I'm going to just give it to my parents and stop wasting money on having a garage spot."

Wingert, who won the award given to the top college player in 2003, said he talks to his former St. John's coach once a month and plans to go to games once the season starts in the fall.

He said he won't be working out at the campus because he once broke his foot playing with the team after his MLS offseason started.

"I'll be there and supporting them, keeping in contact," he said.

It's another line in a long list of things that he can do now that he's back in New York.


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