Matt Freese | "I Think I've Progressed A Lot This Year." 


Goalkeeper Matt Freese believes parts of his game have developed significantly since arriving at the Club.

The goalkeeper arrived at NYCFC in January this year as part of a trade involving the Philadelphia Union.

Freese made his NYCFC debut in the U.S. Open Cup meeting with FC Cincinnati in May before making his league bow against the same opponent several weeks later.

He built on that with a start against Portland Timbers last Saturday, during which he made a number of impressive stops.

Keen to continue growing as he challenges Luis Barraza for the coveted number one spot, the 24-year-old stated he has seen improvements in his game since arriving at NYCFC.

“I thought it was solid,” Freese said of his performance against the Timbers.

“I’m still learning about the building out of the back and the decision-making with the ball at my feet.

“I think I've progressed a lot in that respect over the last four or five months but there's always more room to keep growing.

“There were a few balls that I wish I had played differently or made different decisions on. Then shot stopping wise there was the goal [Portland scored]. Outside of the goal I thought I was solid.

“There were one or two rebounds that I gave up that I wish I didn’t, but also one of them was offside and should have been called offside, so I made sure the refs knew about it [laughs].”


Diving deeper into his development with NYCFC Freese hailed the impact of assistant coach Rob Vartughian.

The shot-stopper knew Vartughian prior to arriving at NYCFC and admitted that seeing a familiar face helped ease his transition into new surroundings.

“He and I have known each other for a bunch of years so it was good when I got here to have a familiar face already,” he said.

“He is really knowledgeable, and I'd say one thing that I really appreciate about him is the way that he communicates with players - at least the goalkeepers - it's really personal and in a way soft-spoken.

“It’s to the point where I am able to have a conversation about something with him and I think that's unusual for coaches.

“It's something that I really appreciate. He's done a ton of work getting me up to speed with my ability on the ball and with the ball at my feet - staying after practice, and always doing extra with me - which is great, and it's been really helpful for me.

“He’s been in the game for so long that I think his knowledge of the persona that a goalkeeper needs to have, and the leadership ability that a goalkeeper needs to have is also good.

"He's started to really pass down some of the intangibles onto me.”

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