Family matters and pandemic lead NYCFC to send Alexandru Mitrita on loan – the athletic

Initial reports were greeted with disbelief: why, exactly, would New York City FC loan designated player Alexandru Mitrita to Saudi club Al-Ahli with just one month remaining in the 2020 regular season ?

Why would a club with plans to play in the MLS Cup, a team already broken down from two of their best forwards with injuries, allow one of their top scorers to walk a few weeks before the playoffs start?

As with most things in 2020, the answer is a bit complicated.

NYCFC athletic director David Lee told The Athletic that Mitrita came to the club a few weeks ago to request a move overseas due to a personal matter. His wife is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in November. A combination of COVID-19-induced travel restrictions and immigration requirements meant that neither his family nor his wife’s were able to easily travel from their home in Romania to the United States to help during pregnancy or after. Mitrita traveling regularly as part of the NYCFC program, the couple decided last month that it would be best if Mitrita’s wife returned to Romania to be with family and friends for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Obviously, this put Mitrita in an untenable position. Occasionally traveling between New York and Romania was out of the question; he would not be allowed to do so without quarantine upon his return to the United States, a process that would ensure he ran out of time with NYCFC. Staying in the United States without his wife would mean he wouldn’t be there for her during the final months of her pregnancy, and potentially halfway around the world for the birth of their first child.

“When Mitri came to see us, it’s hard to ignore the family situation he’s in,” Lee said. “We wanted to try to provide a better situation for him and his family.

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