Major League Soccer

NYCFC sign Thiago Martins as newest Designated Player

Lizzy Becherano
Thiago Martins joins NYCFC as a Designated Player
Thiago Martins joins NYCFC as a Designated Player / Hiroki Watanabe/GettyImages

New York City FC have added a Designated Player to their roster. 

The reigning MLS champions signed Brazilian center-back Thiago Martins from Japanese first-division side Yokohama F. Marinos as a Designated Player through the 2025 season with an option for 2026. 

“Thiago is a highly regarded defender who is entering the peak stages of his career,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in a release. “He has all the attributes we look for in a defender and we believe he will suit our style of play well and thrive in MLS. 

“He’s a strong, quick and technically gifted player who is good on the ball, can play out of the back and will allow us to continue to play a high backline. He’s also a fantastic professional who was one of the captains in Yokohama and will be another strong leader for us both on and off the pitch.”

Martins kicked off his professional career with Brazilian side Palmeiras in 2013, where he recorded 50 appearances before going on to feature for Yokohama F. Marinos. 

The center-back earned a loan spell to Marinos in 2018 prior to completing the permanent transfer and leading the side to the 2019 league championship.

“Everything conspired perfectly to make this great move to New York, I also watched a lot of matches from last season,” Martins said in a release. “I saw we are a team that likes to play attractive and attacking football, have many players that are great on the ball, but at the same time work hard and are fighters.

“It’s no wonder why they were champions, I can tell they have done a lot of work and have an amazing structure here. I know I am joining an amazing group of defenders and am looking forward to training and playing with them all.’’

Martins joins NYCFC’s backline, alongside Peru international Alexander Callens and Luxembourg international Maxime Chanot.

The team is set to kick off the 2022 MLS season on February 27 when visiting the LA Galaxy