RBNY Players Remember their MLS SuperDraft

Ryan Meara & Brian White

With the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas happening today, we reached out to several of our players who lived it. Ryan Meara, Brian White, Sean Nealis and Tom Barlow shared their experiences about that day and offered advice to our club’s newcomers.  

Feeling before the MLS SuperDraft started

“For me I was excited for the Draft because I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up. I heard murmurs here and there, that I’d end up in this team or that team, but I was just excited because it was the beginning of the next chapter in my life. It was the beginning of this dream that I dreamed for so long, work so hard to achieve and for it to finally come true that day, it was an exciting idea for me and my family. I was just very blessed to have that day and those memories with me now.”

~ Brian White, Class of 2018

“The day of the Draft I was pretty relaxed, to be honest,  I think the more nerve-wracking time was going through the combine because you really had to perform well in front of all the coaches and General Managers throughout the league. Once the day of the Draft came, I felt at ease, you know, all the work had been done at that point, and I was just waiting to hear my name called. Obviously being a fan of Red Bull growing up here, I knew their situation at the time, they didn't have any goalies on the roster, so of course I was holding out hope that you know it'd be my hometown team to be the team that picked me. But really I just wanted to hear my name called by anyone and just to get my foot in the door in the league, and it would have been a dream come true for me to play for any team but the fact that it was the Red Bulls definitely made it a whole lot more special.”

~ Ryan Meara, Class of 2012

“Before the Superdraft, I remember feeling a little bit anxious. I didn't know exactly if I would get chosen. I spoke with Red Bull probably a week before the Superdraft, but other than that I hadn't really talked to anyone, I didn't know what was gonna happen. I wasn't invited to the combine or anything, so I was just kind of waiting to see and hoping that my name would be called. I was definitely feeling a little bit anxious, but you know it ended up working out for me and it was kind of a crazy day.”

~ Tom Barlow, Class of 2018

“Honestly, I didn't think I would be getting drafted. I didn't really watch it. I think I was out at the gym working out, I mean, there was hope that maybe I could get drafted, but honestly in the back of my mind, I didn't think I was.”

~ Sean Nealis, Class of 2019 
What went through your mind when you heard that the New York Red Bulls selected you

“When the Red Bulls selected me, I was ecstatic. I remember exactly I was sitting in my family room, and I got a call from Dennis [Hamlett] and Jesse [Marsch], they told me they selected me and I couldn't be more excited. It was a great day, and I was just kind of at a loss for words. My dream came true, and I was just super thrilled, just ready to get over there, meet everyone and start my professional career. It's a fantastic day, and a lot of emotions. It was super cool for me and my family.”

~ Barlow

“When the Red Bulls pick came up, I was really excited because I was still on the board, and I knew the Red Bulls were interested in me before so I was excited and then me, my mom, my dad and my brother were sitting there waiting; we kind of were expecting it, this is the time, I'm going to get picked here. And then the clock runs out, Don Garber walks up to the podium and is like, ‘The Red Bulls have used their timeout.’ They added another extra five minutes, my mom looked at me like, ‘What does this mean?’ I was like, ‘I don't know.’ So, it's a little bit of extra wait for that moment when I finally heard that the Red Bulls had picked me, and I was just so excited to not only play for the Red Bulls but stay at home and represent the state, the city and this area that I grew up in and I love so much. It was just a great moment for me.”

~ White

“Once I heard my name called when the Red Bulls were on the clock, it was an unbelievable feeling. I watched the Draft at my house with my parents, and my brothers. We all went pretty nuts once the pick came through, and it probably didn't really set in for a couple days. It was a bit surreal, and then within the next half hour or so, I felt like half the neighborhood had come over to my house. We had a bit of a party that night. It's just an unforgettable day, something I’ll never ever ever forget, and a memory I hold very dear to my heart.”

~ Meara

“I was a little shocked, honestly, I didn't think I would get drafted, but I was grateful. When Chris [Armas] called me I was ready to get to work, and I wanted to go straight to the facility to start practicing right away. I was excited and eager to be part of this great organization. Like I said I was grateful for the opportunity, hopefully I could try to make the most of it.”

~ Nealis
What would your message be to those players that RBNY will draft

“I think my message for the boys that the Red Bulls pick would be just come to preseason ready to work, ready to learn. It's going to be an adjustment, it's going to take some time, and when you get here, don't be too hard on yourself. You're going to make mistakes, you're going to have frustrations, it’s a different style of soccer, that a lot of people aren’t used to playing, so it could take time for you to adjust, to learn, to feel comfortable in this environment. I would just say be confident who you are and your ability, the Red Bulls picked you for a reaso. They believe that you can play in this system, and you can be a member of this club. Be confident in yourself, and we just look forward to having them in a preseason.”

~ White

“To those who've been selected by Red Bull in the Superdraft, all I have to say is: Congratulations, well-deserved. Welcome to the Red Bull family, you're coming into a fantastic organization just filled with great people, and enjoy it, enjoy with your families, soak it all in and get ready to come to work. It's a great place to be, and we're looking forward to meeting you guys and getting you out on the field, getting ready for the upcoming season. We'll see you soon.”

~ Barlow

“All the guys getting drafted, I would say first of all just enjoy the process, enjoy the day of the Draft as much as you can. It's something that it can definitely be stressful because it's a big moment in your life, but I think it's only stressful if you let it be stressful. I think you got to look at it as more of a positive and enjoy the day with your family and close friends. Once you do get picked by us, I don't think there's a better team in the league to get drafted by because the way we trust our young players, and the way we depend on our young players and draft picks to make a difference on the team. Enjoy the day, be proud and just be ready to get to work, and I'm excited for all you guys. Hope to get to know you guys and get to play with you guys very soon.”

~ Meara

“Be ready to put the work in, day in and day out. Show up ready to work, be disciplined in what you do, and don't be afraid to make mistakes because there's going to be failures and shortcomings. Learn from those and be better from those. They will make you only into a better player and just good luck with your career.”

~ Nealis