New York simply felt like home for Daniel Royer.
The New York Red Bulls winger signing a contract extension this week that will make him a part of the team for the foreseeable future. It is a bold move by the organization and the player, who had interest from several high-profile European clubs this offseason before spurning their advances to stay in MLS.
Signed in the last gasps of the summer transfer window in 2016, Royer understandably took some time to settle into MLS. But his 2017 season showed a player who not only was among the most daring attacking players in the league but someone who fit the Red Bulls system perfectly.
While Royer is confident on the dribble and creative on the ball, he also brings a tremendous work rate. It is a tailor-made blend of athleticism and skill for a team that presses and counter-presses with almost maniacal tendencies.
Signing a deal to extend his time in MLS is a big move for Royer, six times capped by Austria and set to turn 28-years old in May.
“It’s always good when you have security contract. In Europe, it is common to have long-term deals. As I have experienced in America, it’s not common to have contracts for a long period of time. I think it is always connected with security.
“First of all, I have to say that I like it here. Nothing changed about that. There was no big reason for me to leave. Sorting out things, that’s pretty much why I’m happy that I re-signed here,” Royer told MSGNetworks.com before touching on his fit with the Red Bulls.
“The way we play is pretty unique, we’re not the only team in the world but only a few teams play the style we play – obviously the other Red Bull clubs. I think the style of play fits to my soccer skills. Before I came here, I never experienced this because all the clubs I have [played at], we play a different style of soccer.
“When I came here, it was a big adjustment for me and a new experience. Now being here for one-and-a-half years, I have to say its pretty tough, it’s harder. We all know that, we all mention that before the season, during the season, after the season – it is a high-demand style of soccer and Jesse [Marsch] has a part in that as well. I think it fits for me. It’s a big reason why I like it here.”
With that said, Royer has certainly been up to the physical demands while also producing. In 26 matches last year, 23 of which were starts, he had 12 goals and three assists and was named the “MLS Player of the Month” last July.
His form was strong and Royer, who played in Austria and Denmark before moving to the Red Bulls, got some significant interest from teams back in Europe. The interest, Royer said, “had to be really amazing” to lure him away from the Red Bulls.
“I’m at an age where it is not impossible to make a transfer to a real good club in Europe as well. Other clubs in Europe, they recognized or noticed my season and my goals and how everything went for me,” Royer said.
“At the end of the season, there were some offers and I have to admit there were some good offers – some places I hadn’t played yet. At the end of the day, I knew it had to be something, you know, something unbelievable where I’d have to say ‘Ok, I have to do this.’ I have a high respect for the New York Red Bulls and [am] happy to be here [but] I had some amazing clubs call me from Europe.”