One of the more enjoyable previews I do is, and always will be, of the New York Red Bulls academy.
The Red Bulls are constantly scouring the Northeast for the premier talent at every level. They boost incredible facilities, coaches, and resources. They’ve been one of the most successful clubs in the MLS of integrating its top talent into the first team.
Countless more members of the academy end up as top tier college players. The 2013-2014 Red Bulls U18 squad was second only to Bethesda-Olney in sending players to college for the 2014 season. Red Bulls sent players to Georgetown (x2), Wake Forest (x2), Michigan (x2), Virginia, Rutgers (x2), UNC-Charlotte, Connecticut, St. John’s and UC-Santa Barbara. The three returning stars of the Red Bulls U18 side, Derrick Etienne, Wesley Wade and Malcolm Dixon, all three have already pledged their collegiate future to Virginia.
The Dixon-Etienne-Wade line has the most offensive potential in USSDA. Etienne is incredibly underrated for just what he does. He’s an organizer, tidy with the ball and a constant threat to turn game on its head. Both Dixon and Wade spent a majority of their younger career as two of the major hot-shots of US U14-U17 teams. Their return to the Red Bulls last year signals their intent to remain close to the club with hopes for a future HG contract.
The Dixon-Ettiene-Wade line will be bolstered by the arrival of a few other top shelf Northeastern based attackers. PDA’s U16 star Cameron Harr joins the Red Bulls after netting 18 times. Harr will be joined by former Albertson SC forward Stephen Elias. Elias like Dixon & Wade is a former US Youth National team product, who will be taking his talents to NC State in the fall of 2015.
Any club would be content with the quartet of Dixon, Wade, Elias and Harr, not the Red Bulls. They’ll promote one of the highest scoring U16 attacks in all of USSDA last season.
Silky striker Ethan Lochner is on the cusp of cracking the highly competitive US 18 pool following a sensation U16 season in 2013-2014. Lochner will likely be a focal point for the Red Bulls attack once again this season. Do not be surprised if fellow ’97 Christopher Flores also sees time in the attack. Flores scored 6 times last year for the U16 Red Bulls from a more advanced midfield role.
The first name on the Red Bulls U18 team sheet will undoubtedly by Etienne. Much like last year, Derrick will have free-reign in the middle of the park and be responsible for maintaining the shape of the squad, which will be offense heavy. This could push Etienne into an even more deep lying play-making role.
Etienne will be flanked by U16 alum Gideon Metrikin. Metrikin led the U16s in games started an was second to Lochner in goals scored, at 10. Red Bull’s Brazilian midfielder Rafael Terci, ex-Albertson SC team leader Conrad Nowowiejski, and Kyle Zajec will also make an impact in the midfield.
The 2013-2014 Red Bulls U18 defense was one of the most stingy in the nation. The 2014-2015 defense will be completely different. The defense will be led by US U18 National Teamer Kyle Duncan. Duncan will be joined by Henry Martin, and Matthew McCarthy who were first choice defenders last season.
Keep an eye on interesting defensive prospect Marcello Borges. Borges is a Michigan commit with a talent of getting forward. He’s got the skills and technical abilities of a creative midfielder, but has seemed to find a home on the back line.
The line will be led by Nicholas Girodano in net, with Tomas Lapinas pushing for time as well. Lapinas and Giordano split time with the U16s last season, but I’ve been told by a number of scouts that Girodano is the likely starter heading into the season.
The U16s, like the U18s, will be greatly influenced by the next generation of Red Bulls talent.
Returning U16 starters include, ’98s Mason Deeds, Ryan Mingachos and Sean Teixeira, who will likely boss the middle of the field. Red Bulls U16s followed in the U18s theft of Albertson SC players and will get the services of defensive ace Kyle Perno. The ’98 Perno has been included in a number of US Youth team camps. US U17 starter Matthew Olosunde will also join up with the U16s when available. ’98 Zaire Bentley will also be a key contributor this season.
Red Bulls super-class of 99s which include DeAndre Golding, Xavier Kennedy, Giuseppe Margiottiello, Evan Peters, Kazu Shigenobu and Zach Ryan will add to an already deep roster. Look for ’99 Zach Ryan to not only crack the starting line-up for the U16s but get called into the US U15 99 squad soon. ’99 defender Tyler Adams, who spent time with US Residency last year, will join up with the Bradenton based crew for the rest of 2014 and 2015. Like Olosunde, Adams will rejoin the U16s when available.
Interesting to note that both ’99 US Youth National team attackers John Paul Marin and Omir Fernandez are not currently listed with the Red Bulls. The two combined for 27 goals last season.
The Red Bulls U14 squad loses its ’00 star in Timothy Weah who has joined up with PSG Academy. Weah partnered with fellow ’00 Jack Valderrabano last season. Both Weah and Valderrabano tallied 12 goals on the season. With Weah gone, Valderrabano will be asked to do much more of the scoring. Look for Christopher Gloster and Pablo Arias to help lead Valderrabano the young Red Bulls. The Red Bulls will also bring in ’00 keeper Billy Zyckowski, who has plenty of big game experience.
The U14 Red Bulls were also able to land one hottest prospects on the East Coast in ’00 Benjamin Mines from Oakwood SC. Mines, despite playing up a year, started all 22 matches for Oakwood and lead the team in goals. Mines is a dual English-American who has had lots of interest from some of the top clubs in Britain. Look for Mines to be one of the highest rising prospects in all of USSDA.
Club Captain :: Derrick Etienne
Impact Player :: Malcolm Dixon
Club Talisman :: Henry Martin
Club Star :: Ethan Lochner
Defensive Stalwart :: Kyle Duncan
Top Prospect :: Jack Valderrabano
Pro Prospect :: Wesley Wade
US Residents :: Tyler Adams & Matthew Olosunde