This year the LA Galaxy took a huge step in the right direction by creating a reserve team named LA Galaxy II to compete in the USL (3rd division). It is primarily comprised of young players, many of whom have come through the Galaxy youth setup. Some of the players (i.e. Raul Mendiola, Bradford Jamieson IV) have loads of potential and have seen consistent playing time with LA Galaxy II this year. Without this reserve team, their talent would’ve been left on the bench with the first team, thus stunting their development. LA Galaxy II, essentially MLS’ test team to see if this project would work, has been a massive success. The squad is currently in the USL playoffs, seeking a championship in their inaugural season. This team is proof that there’s plenty of youth talent in this country and arguably the only academy with more talent than LA Galaxy are their east coast counterparts, New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls are the only club in the USSDA with two academy championships and aren’t looking back. With a majority of their players coming from two of the most talent rich states in the country (New Jersey, New York), the quality players just keep rolling in. A few of the potential superstars such as current New York Red Bulls first team members Matt Miazga and Santiago Castano took the professional route, but there’s many more playing in college. To put it simply, there’s enough high level guys coming from their academy that if they fielded their own college team, they would be among the best.
Earlier this year, the Red Bulls announced they would field a reserve team in USL for the start of the 2014-15 season, following the lead of the LA Galaxy. There was jubilation from the club’s faithful fans as this would prevent the club from losing any more talent like they have in the past with players like Amando Moreno, IsmarTandir, and many others. This excitement was short lived as plans have since changed for the 2013 Supporter Shield winners. This week, news came out that the New York Red Bulls would not field a team in USL, a disappointing development. A Red Bulls reserve team made up of their current academy players in college would be fun to see to say the least. College Soccer News takes a look at the potential homegrown players for the New York Red Bulls and possibly for a New York Red Bulls II team of the future.
Brandon Allen (Georgetown): Allen, may be the Red Bulls highest rated prospect is a joy to watch. The junior forward at 6’1”, 190 definitely has the size for the next level as a true number nine. The Hoyas poacher has one of the best left foots in college soccer and moves extremely well for a forward his size. With the graduation of current MLS player, Steve Neumann, Allen has had to carry the goal-scoring load for the Big East powerhouse and hasn’t disappointed, notching five goals thus far. The College Soccer News preseason 1st Team All American has been a natural finisher at every level, leading the country in goals at the academy level and scoring 16 and 11 goals in his first two years at Georgetown. With the possible retirement of footballing legend Thierry Henry, Allen would be a great signing to add depth for the ‘Metros’.
Ethan Vanacore-Decker (UCONN): Decker, a sophomore for the Huskies is another natural finisher with a wicked shot. The US youth national team member started six games during his freshman campaign and this year has become a starter for UCONN Coach Ray Reid. Decker, a powerful forward who links well with his midfielders is one to keep an eye on.
Alex Muyl (Georgetown): Muyl, a U.S. youth national team forward endured a great freshmen season earning 17 points for the Hoyas and has looked even better thus far in 2014. The Hoyas’ powerful striker compliments Allen well up top and has the ability to take over a game. At times, the versatile Muyl has played as a winger as well and thrived. Expect big things from the #9.
Wesley Wade and Malcolm Dixon: The two dynamic forwards are only seniors in high school, but have both been consistent members of the youth national team setup (Dixon with the U.S. and Jamaica). The athletic tandem, form a great partnership up front together and are both committed to the University of Virginia for 2015. Don’t be surprised to see one if not both stars sign professional contracts before they graduate in Charlottesville.
Sean Davis (Duke): As one of the top players coming out of high school, Davis has lived up to the hype. The Blue Devils senior captain runs the show in the midfield as a true maestro with a great free kick in his repertoire as well. The College Soccer News preseason 3rd Team All-American has already gained attention from the Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh who has publically expressed his interest in signing Davis following the conclusion of the college soccer season. Expect to see Davis on the pitch at Red Bull Arena in 2015.
Dan Metzger (Maryland): One of the most underrated players in college soccer, Metzger, is a pleasure to watch operate the midfield. The two year captain for the Terps sits in front of the back line and smoothly sprays the ball around; Kyle Beckerman-esque. The College Soccer News preseason 2nd Team All American’s only criticism from scouts is he may be too small in stature to play center mid in MLS (I disagree). With another solid season at College Park, Metzger could find himself on the Red Bulls roster next year.
Adam Najem (Akron): Najem, a crafty midfielder is one of the nation’s top playmakers. The Zips #10 is a bit undersized, but makes up for that with his quickness and sharp movements. The College Soccer News All-Freshmen honoree’s technical ability stands out, even on a very technical Akron team. Whether it’s this year or in the future, Najem will be a future pro.
Erik Sa (Rutgers): Sa, the captain of the 2013 Red Bulls Academy National Championship team, is another exceptional playmaker. The Scarlet Knights #10 is quick, an excellent passer and solid with both feet. For a Red Bulls first team that lacks a natural #10, Sa might get a look from Petke and his staff.
Mael Corboz (Maryland): Corboz, a Rutgers transfer has transitioned to Maryland seamlessly already earning himself a starting spot. The left-footed junior midfielder is a deeplying playmaker with precision passing and excellent free kick ability. Possibly one of the most fit players in the country, Corboz, covers tons of ground allowing him to be in the right spot, another great asset.
Arun Basuljevic and Chris Lema (Georgetown): The Georgetown freshmen duo are both technical, crafty attacking midfielders. Lema has been a consistent starter with the U.S U-17s, while Basuljevic captained the Red Bulls academy team this past season. Both have received significant minutes thus far and as the season progresses expect to see more of them. They should wreck havoc in the Big East for years to come.
Scott Thomsen (Virginia): Thomsen, originally a center midfield was converted to a left back since coming to Virginia. The left footed junior covers the wing well and rarely makes mistakes on the ball. For a Red Bulls team weak at outside back, Thomsen could add depth.
Kevin Politz (Wake Forest): Politz, as a freshmen has earned a starting role in the backline, an impressive feat. The lockdown defender and US youth national teamer rarely gets beat in one vs ones and is stronger than he appears. For a defender, Politz plays very well out of the back and covers others mistakes.
Ben Roth is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. He can be reached at Ben.firstname.lastname@example.org