Hey, this is Anthony McKenna new here with the NYCFC Nation. I’m about to be a sophomore at Syracuse University this upcoming fall and I am going to be writing “Where Are They Now?” type articles here at the Nation. I have been a fan of the club pretty much since day one and have watched every game the club has played. On Twitter, I am @anthonym0307 so feel free to reach out. I do tweet a lot about NYCFC during the season and I’m also a huge fan of pretty much every other major sport in America so expect some Nets, Yankees, and Giants tweets too.
With these, Where Are They Now Articles, I am going to be taking a look at some of New York City’s best players and young prospects that have since left the club. I will be starting off with the younger players who showed great promise with the team and have since moved onto bigger clubs, but as this series goes on I will branch off into players that were maybe older or you may have forgotten about entirely. With this series, I also think it will be cool to see just how far-reaching the club is with former players being spread all across the world and a few making an impact at the top level of the country they are playing in.
Jack Harrison is a fan favorite to many that saw him play for New York City FC and he remains a player that pretty much every fan looks back on with joy. New York City first acquired Harrison in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft after Chicago Fire FC drafted him first overall. Immediately after the Fire made the pick, they traded him to New York City in exchange for the fourth overall pick in that year’s draft. (That pick turned into Brandon Vincent who spent three season in MLS and retired from soccer after the 2018 season.) Harrison was an electric player on the wing and scored some memorable goals for the club including a goal in two separate Hudson River Derbies including the club’s first-ever win against the New York Red Bulls. Unfortunately, he was only able to spend two seasons here and Manchester City signed him after the 2017 season. Since then Harrison has been improving every season and could potentially be playing in the Premier League next season, although there is still work to do on that front.
After New York City
Loan to Middlesbrough
As soon as Manchester City signed Harrison in January of 2018, he was loaned out to EFL Championship side Middlesbrough. Harrison spent most of his time with Boro on the bench and only saw game action four times in his short time there, all in substitute appearances. Middlesbrough was unable to secure Premier League promotion after losing in the play-off semi-finals to Aston Villa. Harrison returned to Man City after the season and took part in the team’s preseason tour in the U.S. and even played in two friendlies. He was then loaned out to a different Championship side on a season-long loan, this time it was Leeds United where he remains to this day.
Loan to Leeds United
Harrison’s career in England really took off once he joined Leeds United. In the 2018/19 season, he wound up starting in 32 of the club’s 44 championship matches and was subbed on in 7 more of their matches. He scored four goals and had three assists that season in the Championship and seemed destined to be promoted to the Premier League as Leeds were in an automatic promotion spot for most of the season and held that spot as late as there being four games left in the season. Leeds wound up spending 33 of the 46 match days in the top two with Harrison being a big reason why they were so successful as he became a dangerous threat on the wing as he was with New York City. Unfortunately for Jack and Leeds they had to settle for a promotion playoff spot where they faced Derby County Football Club in the semi-finals. Harrison had a major impact in the first leg when he assisted on a Kemar Roofe goal that gave Leeds a pivotal 1-0 win away against Derby County. This turned out to be for naught as Leeds lost 4-2 in the home leg and were destined for another season in the Championship.
As a side note, if you want to see more of this Leeds season I would highly recommend Take Us Home on Amazon Prime which documents their season in 2018/19. Jack is not featured much but it is still a great docuseries.
Jack signed another season-long loan to Leeds for the 2019/20 season where he would eventually become a regular in the team’s starting eleven. Harrison made his presence felt immediately this season when he scored in the club’s season opener against Bristol City Football Club in a 3-1 win. Harrison has started in every match for Leeds as they push for Premier League promotion once again. With a season under his belt at Leeds, he has shone even more for the club as he has scored six goals and added eight assists through 43 games this season. Two of his goals have wound up being the decisive goal for Leeds including an 87th-minute match winner against Reading FC. Harrison was even nominated for the November player of the month in the Championship after tallying three goals and an assist in the month.
Leeds have been much more dominant this season than last and have not dropped out of an automatic promotion spot since Matchday 16 in November. As of now Leeds sit atop the Championship and are six points ahead of third place with only three games left to play. Leeds now seem destined for the Premier League, barring a collapse at the end of the season. Both Leeds and Harrison have shown mutual interest in signing a permanent deal to keep him with the club past this season. Harrison seems destined for the Premier League as things stand and I think every NYC fan had seen that potential for him while he was here.
Let me know about your favorite “Boy Wonder” moments in the comments below or on twitter.