Dante Vanzeir knew coming to the New York Red Bulls was the right move.
"I made this choice because Red Bull New York is a big team that fits in my playing style," Vanzeir said at his introductory press conference ahead of the 2023 season.
"Their ambitions, their style of play, the culture in the club, it really fits my style too," Vanzeir said. "That was one of the main reasons to join this club."
Vanzeir, 24, joins New York from Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, where he has spent the last three seasons. The Belgian forward made 92 appearances with the club, while scoring 48 goals and tallying 21 assists.
"What I'm really looking forward to is meeting all the fans in the stadium," Vanzeir said was the first of his goals. "I would like to show them my qualities, the team's qualities. I think we have a great group of guys that want to achieve some wonderful things this season."
As for putting the ball in the back of the net, he has a number he's gunning toward.
"Fifteen goals in a season is a good number and I'm aiming for that every year," he said.
In his first season with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, Vanzeir scored 18 goals and won the Golden Boot in the Challenger Pro League, the second division in Belgian soccer. He led Royal Union Saint-Gilloise to win the league and earn promotion to the Juplier Pro League for the first time in 48 years. This season with the club, he has made 28 appearances across all competitions and has added 12 goals and two assists.
"Maybe I don't do the craziest things on the pitch, but I'm a guy who is hardworking, will give my best every time and I will help the team by creating chances, putting pressure and scoring goals," Vanzeir said. "That's the most I can do to make the fans happy."
The Beringen, Belgium native has spent time during his career with Beerschot V.A., KV Mechelen, and KCR Genk. While with Beerschot V.A. for the 2018-2019 season, Vanzeir made 27 appearances in the Challenger Pro League and scored 13 goals in 2,2028 minutes played.
"He has a special ability, a big nose for goals," Head Coach Gerhard Struber said of his newest Designated Player. "This is the missing link from what we had last season. We did not always have the right position or the right nose for goals."
Vanzeir joined Genk’s youth system when he was eleven years old and joined the first team in 2016, where he made his professional debut against R.S.C. Anderlecht on September 18 of that year. Vanzeir won the Belgian Super Cup with Genk for the 2019-2020 season.
Vanzeir hasn't played a competitive match in a few weeks, so he said it will take some time to get reacclimatized to playing -- and the team's playing style.
"I need some time to adapt, but I will find my playing style with this team and this philosophy really quick," he said.
Vanzeir has represented Belgium at the all-youth levels from the U-15’s to U-21’s. He made 37 appearances as a Belgian youth international and scored eight goals.
"It’s an exciting signing for us," Lewis Morgan said of Vanzeir. "It was Dante's first day today, so the boys made him feel welcome, and I'm looking forward to playing with him out there, as I am with all my teammates I'm sure he can help the squad and help us achieve our goals.
In November 2021, Vanzeir was named to Belgian’s senior team for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification matches against Estonia and Wales. He earned his first cap and senior national team debut on November 16 against Wales coming on as a substitute and playing 31 minutes. Former New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry was an assistant coach for the Belgium National Team, when Vanzeir played for the senior team.
"I have a very, very good feeling that he will learn very quickly, and he will be big for us, for the club, in the next few years," Struber said.
2023 Home Opener
We're back home on Saturday, March 4 vs Nashville SC! First 7,500 fans in attendance will receive a reversible beanie!