NYCFC adds another depth piece with signing of Rio Hope-Gund

  • NYCFC signed Rio Hope-Gund to a contract
  • The defender adds depth to the center-back position
Rio Hope-Gund of NYCFC
Rio Hope-Gund of NYCFC / Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/GettyImages

On Friday, New York City FC added another defender for the 2024 season. The club announced the signing of Rio Hope-Gund to a contract for this year. There are options through 2026.

The player spent the previous season playing for NYCFC II. It is expected he will be utilized for depth. In addition, he joins Strahinja Tanasijević as a new defensive signing. This move means there is finally enough depth among the center-backs. He also has experience as a right-back, so he can play there in an emergency situation.

NYCFC signs Rio Hope-Gund

Hope-Gund is a New York native who was born and raised in Manhattan. He is already familiar with some of his teammates, and his experience with the MLS Next Pro side means he has a familiarity with the club. As such, his transition into training with the first team should be smoother compared to someone moving from outside the club.

This is not the defender's first time in Major League Soccer. He spent time with both Orlando City SC and D.C. United. However, he made only one first-team appearance with D.C. in the U.S. Open Cup.

With NYCFC II, Hope-Gund played in 24 fixtures during the 2023 season. His work with the team was why the club wanted to sign him to a first-team contract. Sporting Director David Lee expressed this to

"We’ve been impressed with Rio’s development since he joined the second team last season," said Lee. "He’s consistently worked hard and demonstrated his professionalism since joining the club, and is deserving of this opportunity. Rio offers depth and quality at the center back position, as we aim to challenge in all competitions this season."

The signing of Hope-Gund was a great move by NYCFC. It is a friendly contract where it allows the club to evaluate the defender after one year. Moreover, he can learn from his teammates and hopefully develop into a better player.