Young star players from New York City FC took in the sights and sounds of Abu Dhabi as part of a whirlwind tour of the UAE capital.
The Major League Soccer players got to visit many of Abu Dhabi’s notable landmarks while they filmed two video projects with Etihad that will be released this season.
The players, who were in the UAE for the first time, enjoyed driving around the home of the FORMULA ONE ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - Yas Marina Circuit, visited the newly opened Louvre museum, the iconic Grand Mosque, Saadiyat Beach Club and Etihad Towers, as well as enjoyed cultural activities on a traditional Desert Safari.
Players included 2018 World Cup Costa Rican Internationals Rodney Wallace & Ronald Matarrita, England U-21 National Jack Harrison, U.S. Men’s National Sean Johnson, U.S. U-20 Men’s National Jonathan Lewis and NYCFC Defender Ben Sweat.
Etihad Airways Vice President Marketing Partnerships, Patrick Pierce, said: “It’s great to host New York City FC in Abu Dhabi for the first time. They were able to experience our wonderful, safe, capital city here in the sunshine - and witness why it’s such a popular destination for business and leisure travellers, especially during the winter.
“Etihad and NYCFC collectively developed this project to represent our global partnership. Sport, and football in particular, is a unifying language that bonds diverse communities around the world in much the same way travel does.”
Competing in Major League Soccer in the United States, New York City FC is majority owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s City Football Group, which also owns Manchester City FC and Melbourne City FC.
During the visit, organised by Etihad Airways, Jack Harrison, Rodney Wallace and Sean Johnson also took time out to visited Zayed Sports City and helped coach boys and girls from City Football Schools. They also shared their knowledge and experience with the next generation of players and were able to give them an insight into what life is like as a professional player.
New York City FC’s Left Winger Rodney Wallace, who successfully helped Costa Rica earn a bid to the 2018 FIFA World Cup added: “It’s my first time visiting in Abu Dhabi and its spectacular place. We have managed to see a lot of sights while we have been here and it was fantastic to coach some of the young children in the Emirate.”
Away from the football field, UAE fans also got to meet their heroes at an exclusive question and answer session at one of the hotels in the capital.