Academy players running with the Red Bulls
Looking out at Red Bulls practice last Thursday, there were clearly some faces missing. With the likes of Rafa Marquez, Dane Richards, Dwayne De Rosario, Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream off with their respective national squads for the Gold Cup, a lot of attention was on the guys who were not there. Instead, the bright future of the New York Red Bulls could be seen through two players who were there. Red Bull Academy products Sean Davis and Dan Metzger were called in to practice with the first team and have been a fixture around the first team for much of the year.
Case in point, the Red Bulls’ friendly match against the Montreal Impact on May 11 was as much about the current first team as it was about the future. Three current Red Bulls Academy players saw action in the game in Montreal. Davis and Metzger were joined by Brandon Allen in a game that proved the depth and quality of the academy.
“These are the kind of experiences the Red Bulls Academy provides that sets it apart from other youth clubs,” said Red Bulls Academy Director Bob Montgomery. “The goal of the academy is to develop players to play for the first team and we feel that the friendly against Montreal was certainly a step in the right direction.”
To go along with their duties with the Red Bulls, the academy has been making noise at the national level as well. Metzger and Allen were joined by U-18 Red Bulls captain Bryan Gallego in the player pool for Untied States U-18 National Team that traveled to Portugal for a series of games against Netherlands, Portugal and Finland from May 25-28.
Along with Gallego, Allen, Metzger and Davis, Keith Carona and Jake Wagmeister have trained with the first team and appeared in reserve game matches this season. While they have gotten a taste of what it is like to play at the highest level, the goal is to one day be a permanent fixture on the first team.
“Of course you want to play professionally one day,” stated Davis after training with the first team last week. “We definitely want to play professionally and when we get into an environment like this, it just makes us want to play professionally that much more. It’s very convincing when you come to such a great organization and we just love being around these guys.”
Allen, who did not train with the first team last week but has on numerous occasions, said that the experience and the development with the Red Bulls is second to none.
“I have been given some great opportunities at the academy,” Allen stated. “The Red Bulls organization has given me a chance that I never would have dreamed about or would have gotten at any other academy. They’re really bringing us up and really preparing us to play at the next level.”
“All of these kids have aspirations to one day play for the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena,” added Montgomery. “It’s our job to develop these players and help make that a reality. This is just the beginning but we are proving that we are one of the best academies in MLS.”