Wilmington Hammerheads FC announced its exclusive affiliate partnership with New York City FC of Major League Soccer on Wednesday.
After partnering last season, both clubs agreed to sign on for another year. The one-year affiliation agreement focuses primarily on the development of players and providing them with a professional playing environment, while also working together on rosters to maximize results for both teams.
One player who benefited from this partnership last season was goalkeeper Andre Rawls. Rawls was selected in the 3rd round of the MLS SuperDraft by NYCFC, but wound up signing with the Hammerheads. Last season Rawls started 22 games for the club, had three shutouts and 89 saves, which was second most in the USL.
“We are extremely excited about entering our second year of the affiliation with NYCFC,” said Wilmington Hammerheads FC General Manager Jason Arnold. “Both clubs have been very busy in the off-season and have a lot to look forward to in 2016. To be affiliated with NYCFC and their entire structure gives us great pride and we are pleased to continue our affiliation.”
The affiliation agreement also opens communication and shared resources off the field between each club’s front office and technical staff.
NYCFC was announced publicly as MLS’s twentieth franchise in May 2013, in a partnership between the New York Yankees and City Football Group [Manchester City] as the majority owner.
“We’re excited to extend our relationship with Wilmington Hammerheads for 2016,” said NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna. “Our coaching departments will work together on team development and we’re looking forward to the collaboration and sharing ideas.”