Jack Harrison, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, will be out for the preseason as he recovers from a pelvic injury, New York City FC announced on Monday.
Harrison, 19, had been carrying the injury and did not participate in the MLS combine preceding the draft.
“Of course we’re disappointed for Jack as we know how desperate he is to begin training with his new teammates,” NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira said in a statement. “But he is young and we’ll put together a treatment plan that will see him return to training fitter and stronger than ever. We were aware he had a problem, but having monitored and assessed the injury further since he joined us, we’ve found that it will take him longer to return to full fitness than we first anticipated.
"At the moment we’re still assessing the injury and don’t want to put an exact timeframe on it. Hopefully Jack can take part in some of our preseason, but at the same time we would never rush a player. The important thing is to be patient and treat the injury properly; there is no reason to rush. When he comes back, we want him to feel ready to express and show the talent we know he has. He is a prospect for the future and is going to have a massive part to play in this season for us.”
Harrison, a native of the U.K. and a former Manchester United academy player, had eight goals and 11 assists in his one season at Wake Forest University, winning ACC Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
The Chicago Fire drafted him at No. 1 overall before dealing the selection to NYCFC in exchange for the fourth overall pick (which was used on Stanford fullback Brandon Vincent) and general allocation money. The club has plenty of cover in the midfield with Harrison out, with Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, Mix Diskerud, Kwadwo Poku and Tommy McNamara all among those vying for minutes in Vieira's lineup.
NYCFC kicks off its second MLS season against the Fire on March 6 at Toyota Park.