Midfielder Alex Ring played nearly every minute of his inaugural season with New York City FC in 2017 – the type of athlete that is fierce in his desire to never miss a moment, while equally savage in his style of play. Yellow card accumulation and international duty were the only instances that forced his absence from the squad.
Although the Finland national will not confess to it, he was weary by the end of the campaign. A holding midfielder who more closely resembled the box-to-box variety, Ring logged extensive mileage on his GPS tracking system.
Among the eight new faces that have been embraced at preseason camp, the one who may help preserve the 26-year old Ring for a playoff run is Ghanaian defensive midfielder Ebenezer Ofori. NYCFC signed the 22-year old Feb. 21 on a single-season loan with an option to buy.
Ofori transferred from VfB Stuttgart of the Bundesliga where he appeared just once – a nine-minute cameo – in the 2017-18 season. After he participated in seven 2. Bundesliga contests in 2017, Stuttgart earned promotion. Ofori, who has eight caps for Ghana, has not competed since September and missed all six preseason matches for NYCFC.
He is training with the full squad for the first time this week.
Ofori had a successful three-year stint at AIK in Sweden prior to his move to Germany. In 2015, he was named to top midfielder in the Allsvenskan. NYCFC earlier obtained fullback Anton Tinnerholm, 2017 Allsvenskan defender of the year, from league champions Malmö FF.
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira’s description of Ofori is strikingly similar to past portrayals of Ring.
“He’s a competitor,” Vieira said. “He’s a guy who likes to win, he’s a strong character.”