It’s been an incredible rise for Red Bulls rookie Connor Lade this season. The New Jersey native joined the team in the offseason after coming through the Red Bulls Academy and playing collegiately at St. John’s, but coming to an MLS team rich with talent and where playing time was at a premium was a different animal. Yet in a short time Lade has done more than just show that he belongs on an MLS roster, he’s proved to be an impact player and one of the league’s bright young stars.
MLSsoccer.com is in the midst of its annual “24 Under 24”, a series that ranks the league’s top 24 players under the age of 24. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Lade came in at No. 17 on the list, which is determined by both fan voting and an expert panel of national soccer media members. The full post on Lade's selection can be found here: http://www.mlssoccer.com/24under24/news/article/2012/09/11/17-connor-lade-new-york-red-bulls
Lade has become a near-automatic selection for the starting 11 by head coach Hans Backe after making his professional debut on April 14 against San Jose. Lade’s work ethic and versatility has made it almost impossible for Backe to not choose him; the 22-year-old has featured at both defense and in the midfield this year and has picked up three assists in 20 total games.
One of the top highlights of Lade’s rookie season came against the rival Philadelphia Union on July 21, when Lade assisted on both of Kenny Cooper’s goals in a 2-0 Red Bulls win. It was performances like the one vs. Philly that caught the attention of the league; recently, teammate and Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry referred to Lade as the team’s “player of the season”.
In just his first season as a Red Bull, Lade has become one of the fan favorites at Red Bull Arena. If he’s already one of the club’s top players in a so-far successful season, who knows what lies ahead for him.
To view the full list so far and to follow along as the rest of the list is unveiled, visit http://www.mlssoccer.com/24under24/2012/complete-ranking.