Chelsea icon and club legend Frank Lampard has officially joined new MLS franchise New York City FC – owned by Manchester City – on a two-year contract. The central midfielder, who has scored 251 club goals along with 29 international goals, was released by Chelsea at the end of the 2013/2014 Premier League season.
Frank Lampard’s career started when he was signed for the West Ham youth team as an apprentice in 1994. His first senior start came during his loan spell at Swansea City in 1995, and this also saw his first senior goal in a match against Brighton & Hove Albion. But Lampard only played nine times for the Welsh side before joining back up with West Ham in the January of that season. He went on to make 187 appearances for his local side West Ham, scoring 39 times. During his time at the club he lifted the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999.
However, the departure of his uncle and manager Harry Redknapp and his father in 2001 resulting in Lampard feeling that his family had been poorly treated. Lampard would join Chelsea for just £11 million that same summer, despite Villa having a £15 million bid turned down several months before. June 2001 saw Frank Lampard officially join Chelsea after six years at West Ham.
Frank Lampard had a major impact throughout his 13 years at Chelsea. He played 648 times for the club, scoring a club-record of 211 goals. He ironically broke the clubs goal-scoring record with a double away at Aston Villa, the club who tried to sign him when he was still with West Ham. He was a vital part of every Chelsea manager’s plans, often being played as the box-to-box midfield every top quality side requires to make it domestically and in Europe.
It took the central midfielder just three seasons to win his first ever Premier League, in the 2004-2005 season when Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho took over from Porto. That was complemented by the Football League Cup earlier that same season. He went on to win another two league titles, four FA Cups, one more Football League Cup, two Community Shields and one Europa League. But arguably his most treasured and biggest trophy won was Chelsea’s first ever Champions League trophy, after the club beat Bayern Munich on penalties in their own backyard.
His international career never quite reached the same level, with him, alongside the rest of the England side, under-performing. His first major tournament for the national side was the Euros of 2004, where he scored three goals in four games and was named in the UEFA team of the tournament.
After the Euro 2004, he became a first team regular after the international retirement of Manchester United central midfielder Paul Scholes. He was voted the England fans’ Player of the Year in 2004-2005 and was the side’s top goalscorer in the World Cup qualifiers. However, his World Cup was not very successful as he failed to score a single goal, despite playing every minute for England.
His next World Cup in 2010 was just as unsuccessful as he boasted the record of 37 shots without a goal, although he had one goal disallowed which clearly should have stood against Germany. He was ruled out of Euro 2012 and in 2014 only played one game for England, their last group game of the World Cup against Costa Rica, which ended 0-0.
The iconic midfielder will be certain to have an impact MLS, not only on the pitch for New York City FC, but off the pitch for the entire league. Over the last few years with signings such as David Beckham, MLS has been gaining more and more attention, and Frank Lampard’s signing will further aid this.
The United States’ impressive performance in the World Cup further showed the world what America and MLS is capable of. Now, Lampard will offer his new side New York City FC goals and assists galore as he dictates the pace of the game with his long-range special shots and his inch perfect passes. He is definitely going to have a positive impact on MLS.
Written by Joshua Bean