There were no jaws on the floor or heads being scratched on Friday afternoon when New York City Football Club announced their roster changes following the 2015 Major League Soccer campaign.
According to the release, the 2016 contract options on defenders Jeb Brovsky and Kwame Watson-Siriboe and midfielders Ned Grabavoy and Pablo Alvarez were declined.
The contract of midfielder Sebastian Velasquez expired.
Defenders Shay Facey and Angelino (Manchester City Elite Development Squad), goalkeeper Ryan Meara (New York Red Bulls) and midfielder Javier Calle (Medellin) returned to their respective clubs following their loan spells.
Looking at the names there are no real surprises. Many of the aforementioned players were unable to make a real impact in their debut season with the expansion club to warrant future investments.
Brovsky (15 games, 12 starts) saw his numbers dwindle when New York City FC bolstered their back line with the additions of outside backs Angelino, Andoni Iraola and R.J. Allen. Watson-Siriboe almost had as many cards (five yellow, one red) as matches started (seven) and never looked comfortable in the center of defense. Grabavoy, who was high on former head coach Jason Kreis’ priority list from his Real Salt Lake days, hardly won over the fans — save his two-goal, one-assist performance against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 19. Alvarez provided some creativity in the midfield during the Club’s struggles in the spring — he started three games in May — then was hardly heard from again. Velasquez, another former Kreis player at RSL, strung together series of starts here and there but got lost in the shuffle following the additions of players like Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo in the summer transfer window and the emergence of Tommy McNamara and Kwadwo Poku in the crowded midfield that also included Mix Diskerud, Andrew Jacobson, Mehdi Ballouchy and occasionally Khiry Shelton and Calle.
With the Club changing directions following the departure of Kreis and assistants Miles Joseph and C.J. Brown and the subsequent hiring of Manchester City EDS coach Patrick Vieira, it’s no shock to see the changeover.
There is one question mark, though.
Where is George John?
A fan favorite despite never having played a game for New York City FC, John was listed on the Club’s roster the entire season as he continued his rehabilitation following knee surgery. The defender is no longer listed on the roster page nor was he acknowledged in the release Friday.
The only thing we know is that John didn’t have a contract with NYCFC since his name wasn’t listed when the 2015 MLS player salaries were published over the summer.
Wherever he is, we hope to see a healthy and motivated George John on the field sooner than later.