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James Sands joins Rangers FC on an 18-month loan

New York City FC defender James Sands joins Scotland’s Rangers on an 18-month loan through June 2023, the club announced Wednesday. Rangers hold a purchase option as part of the deal.

The player made 65 Major League Soccer appearances with NYCFC, and stands as the club’s first-ever homegrown signing. The defender also inspired his side to a successful 2021 campaign, guiding NYCFC to their first MLS Cup win.

“To be able to bring the club its first championship is something that I will remember forever,” Sands said in a club statement.

“It has been an amazing year and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it – for a club that I have been with for so long. I hope in some way I’ve been able to set an example and inspire other young soccer players and other players in our Academy.

“I want to thank NYCFC for everything they’ve done for me. They have always provided me with an environment to perform. This club is a family and it has been my home since I signed, I’ve grown up here. I want to thank the best fans in the world for always supporting me and having my back throughout this incredible journey.

“New York City has a special place in my heart and I will always be a fan and will watch the games while in Scotland.”

Sands made his Major League Soccer debut in 2017 under then-head coach Patrick Vieira. He quickly established himself as a crucial starter, becoming integral for Ronny Deila over the past few years. 

Internationally, Sands has proven himself for Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT squad, making seven appearances with the senior team and forming part of the Gold Cup-winning squad from last summer.

“I want to thank James for everything he has done for the club,” said sporting director David Lee. “We’ve seen him grow up in front of our eyes since making history by becoming our first homegrown signing in 2017. He has become an integral part of our team and his quality and maturity is special for a player of his age.

“James’ work ethic and versatility to play several positions has been key to the team’s ability to be flexible and provide depth when needed. James is a true professional on-and-off the field, playing consistently at a high level and setting an example for all our Academy players that want to follow in his footsteps.”

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