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New York City FC could be a proving ground for Man City youth

NYCFC Lampard Soccer

Frank Lampard, of England, rear left, encourages players as he participates in a soccer clinic after being introduced as a member of the MLS expansion club New York City FC, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)


Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano says look out for New York City FC when it kicks off its debut season next year, warning that the new Major League Soccer club isn’t messing around when it comes to its goals as an organization.

“We are building a truly authentic New York team,” Soriano told ESPN. “This is not a Manchester City team, or a brand play or a marketing trick. This is real.”

Part of that reality is that NYCFC could become a place where future Manchester City stars earn their chance at a Premier League job. Soriano said the club could have players begin in MLS before moving onward.

From the BBC:

Manchester City are planning to send young players to develop at their Major League Soccer franchise in the USA.

New York City FC, who signed England midfielder Frank Lampard from Chelsea in July, are owned by Man City and baseball giants New York Yankees.

“We have some bright players. We might ask them to come to New York before they play at Manchester,” City chief executive Ferran Soriano told ESPN.

“This is a team that’s going to play beautiful soccer in New York.”

The philosophy could reap dividends for Manchester City and, in a certain sense, would be good for Major League Soccer. The influx of talent the league would not normally see would draw attention from abroad and help with the branding of the club.

However, there’s a certain “minor league risk” involved with such a concept, as anyone who lives in a AAA baseball or AHL hockey market. When your prized prospect or star player gets scooped back to the big club, it lends an air of illegitimacy to matches, or even a season.

Surely there are ways around this -- loans would have to be a season in duration -- but there’s a challenge in players not being your team’s players, especially in New York City.

Follow @nicholasmendola