Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell sees Caden Clark’s development as prime example of what the New York Red Bulls aspire to continue building at the club. 

“Without question, I think it's clear young players are part of the fabric of our football club,” Thelwell said. “Creating opportunities for those young players to play regardless of their age is very, very important for lots of different reasons. The philosophy in the identity of our football club, and also the Red Bull group in particular, is based around the development of young players. Without question, those opportunities are going to continue to go.”

Thelwell believes in the research that suggests that young players need senior minutes in a competitive environment. 

“The research around young players says that if you haven't played senior minutes in a competitive environment by the time you're 19-years-of-age, you're probably not going to ascend to the level of which you want to ascend to, and of course, there are outliers to that,” he said. “We have lots of players who are older and come through a different route; therefore, that says to us it’s very, very important to place our players in this professional environment where they get these minutes, they get this experience and the opportunity to grow.”

The fast progression of Clark is testament to the Red Bulls’ philosophy, and Thelwell agrees that his potential was clear from Day 1. 

“Well, for Caden, it was clear that he had very high potential, and so what you need to do when you have players of that quality and that ability is you have to find ways to challenge them and by challenging players in a much stronger, much more difficult environment, it supports them to gain their understanding, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and fundamentally get better,” said Thelwell. “From our perspective, we're evaluating all of our players and trying to make sure that we place them in exactly the right environment, that's going to challenge him in this way, and Caden was no different.”

Clark has started all but one game this season for Head Coach Gerhard Struber. He has scored four goals and grabbed two assists. 

Thelwell looks forward to witnessing his continued success with New York. 

“It was very clear very early on that he was going to be an important player to us in lots of different ways. Number one, fundamentally, he's a guy who can score and goals change games as we all know. I'm a big believer that if you're good enough, then you're old enough, and therefore he was able to take absolutely every game and every moment in his stride,” Thelwell said. “And of course in the playoff games, he started and scored. The rest speaks for itself. He was a very important player for us then, and still is.”

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Thelwell looks forward to witnessing his continued success with New York. 

“It was very clear very early on that he was going to be an important player to us in lots of different ways. Number one, fundamentally, he's a guy who can score and goals change games as we all know. I'm a big believer that if you're good enough, then you're old enough, and therefore he was able to take absolutely every game and every moment in his stride,” Thelwell said. “And of course in the playoff games, he started and scored. The rest speaks for itself. He was a very important player for us then, and still is.”

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