Tommy McNamara started the 2016 MLS season on the right foot, scoring a goal and assisting on another in New York City FC’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago Fire on March 6.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who made 15 starts for the club last season, took the time to speak with amNY about NYCFC and the Big Apple ahead of Friday night’s matchup against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium.
What did you think of New York City when you first visited?
I am from the New York area, so I was very young the first time I visited the city. I must have been four or five. I remember how big it was and how bright and loud — a lot going on! Growing up in West Nyack, I always thought it was exciting to be able to visit the city with my family. I’ve loved the energetic vibe ever since I can remember.
How do you like riding the subway?
I like it because it’s a cool window into the city. But I guess it depends on the time of day. I generally don’t mind it, but if it is super packed during rush hour, it’s definitely less enjoyable.
What do you love and hate most about the city?
Love — I love that a lot of my friends that I grew up with live in the city now. It’s home for me, so it’s great to be able to play for the local team and also spend time with friends and family.
Hate — I hate how busy it can get at certain times and in certain places. I generally try to stay away from the overly touristy areas, like Times Square.
Favorite restaurant in the city?
TAO Downtown. I’m not much of a foodie, but we go there for team dinners on occasion. It’s a cool spot.
What is your favorite off-the-pitch memory of the city?
I went to the Spain vs. Ireland soccer game at Yankee Stadium in the summer of 2013 with my dad and my brother. It’s a special memory because back then, soccer wasn’t a regular thing at Yankee Stadium like it is now. Sitting there watching world-class players, I never imagined I’d get to play in Yankee Stadium on a regular basis.
Favorite New York team other than New York City FC?
G-Men. Everyone in my family is a Giants fans. Definitely been a good era for Big Blue.
What makes New York soccer fans unique?
The passion of all the fans, and I mean all the fans that come out to Yankee Stadium, not just the ones who sit in the supporters section. They are all well-educated about the game and react to what is happening on the field.
New York soccer fans are also some of the most diverse in the world. Our fans come from different places and speak different languages. They might support other clubs back home, but it’s awesome how they have come together to support our team in such a short amount of time.
Do you have any game-day rituals?
No — but I stick to the same routine for the most part. Good rest the night before. Good meal. Focus for the game.
Who were your childhood soccer heroes?
Stephen McPhail — he’s one of my best friend’s cousins. He played in the Premier League with Leeds United for a while. He was always my guy.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I can wiggle my ears.