David Villa Makes a Trip to PS 49 in the Bronx
Amidst rumblings of David Villa possibly retiring when his contract expires at the end of the season, the 35-year-old striker announced he’s extending his contract through the 2018 season with New York City FC. The reigning MLS MVP made his announcement to a packed press conference – of 5th and 6th graders from PS 49 in the Bronx.
It was a regular Wednesday for the students at PS 49. In May, enthusiasm for school is at its low point and anticipation for summer is growing. All eyes are typically focused on the window hoping just to get outside while the sun is shining. However, this was not just your typical Wednesday - and a few lucky students had a chance to play some soccer alongside New York City FC superstar, David Villa.
Before Villa’s arrival to the library at PS 49 in the Bronx, the 25 students whispered amongst themselves. “Where is he?!” they all impatiently exclaimed. A teacher tried to keep the kids occupied by asking them about NYC FC and soccer, but their attention was on the doorway.
Each time someone came into the room, the kids turned their heads in unison, hoping their hero would finally arrive. Anticipation reached its breaking point – and just in time David Villa made his grand entrance to a wave of ooh’s and ahh’s.
Following the announcement that Villa would remain in New York, he went to the hot seat at the front of the PS 49 library to answer a few questions – not from the media though, from the students at PS 49. All hands shot up, as they eagerly hoped to get a few words in. The questions ranged from Villa’s favorite spot in NYC, Central Park, to what he likes to eat on game days.
After the press conference, the PS 49 students took the blue asphalt pitch on a windy spring day, with the look of pure excitement and joy on their faces. After a quick warmup, Villa took a walk to the center circle to commence the games.
The final whistle sounded, and in typical fashion they all huddled together for a postgame chat. What wasn’t typical though is that they’re postgame reward wasn’t orange slices and Capri-Sun, it was tickets to this past Sunday’s NYC FC game for all the students and their families. One lucky student even won a random drawing to bring out the game ball with David on Sunday!
Fifth grader Junior Parrera felt nervous playing alongside his idol. Regardless, Junior put a couple goals in the back of the net, impressing Villa making him nod his head in approval. Junior has aspirations of being just like David Villa one day.
Villa couldn’t avoid questions from the media though. Ahead of NYC FC’s first game against new MLS expansion team, Atlanta United, Villa will be facing off against his former manager at Barcelona, Tata Martino. Villa had nothing but positive things to say about his old coach. Additionally, the striker plans to continue the work he’s done with the DV7 Academy, and expand it even further through communities in the Bronx.
In Sunday’s game, Villa led NYC FC to a 3-1 victory, contributing a fabulous goal in the 17th minute of the match fresh off of his new contract extension. After a poor showing in the playoffs last season and an early first round exit at the hands of Toronto FC, NYC FC is off to a nice start.
They are currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. NYC FC is on the road for most of May, but they’ll be back in action in the Bronx on May 31st to take on the New England Revolution.