HARRISON, N.J. (December 21, 2015) - The New York Red Bulls announced today that the club has signed Red Bulls academy products Derrick Etienne and Brandon Allen as Homegrown Players. Etienne joins New York's senior team after one year at the University of Virginia, while Allen joins after four years at Georgetown University.
Per club and league policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
The two signings bring the total number of Homegrown Players in franchise history to 12. Etienne, a midfielder, and Allen, a forward, join fellow Homegrowns Matt Miazga, Connor Lade, Sean Davis, Santiago Castano and Tyler Adams on the current roster.
New York's seven Homegrown Players are currently the most on any MLS roster.
"We are pleased to add two high-caliber players to our roster," said Red Bulls Sporting Director Ali Curtis. "After their accomplishments in the collegiate game, we are excited about the potential of both players to contribute at the professional level."
Allen, a native of Old Bridge, N.J., was a four-year starter at Georgetown, where he amassed 50 goals and 17 assists in 91 appearances, including 90 starts. Allen, one of three finalists for the 2015 MAC Hermann award as college soccer's best player, finished his career as the Hoyas' all-time leading scorer. Allen was a unanimous choice for First Team All-Big East honors in 2015, his fourth-consecutive All-BIG EAST honor and his third-consecutive nod to the first team, as the Hoyas claimed the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles. Allen is also a three-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American. The Mac Hermann award winner will be announced in January.
"I'm very excited," said Allen on Monday. "I've waited a long time for this, all my life, but I enjoyed my college career and a lot of my success came from my teammates and my senior class was a big part of my success so I want to thank them. I'm very excited to get started here at the Red Bulls."
Prior to Georgetown, Allen played for the Red Bulls Academy, and led the team with 28 goals in 24 games as a U-18. He has also represented the United States at youth international levels. Allen is the younger brother of current New York City FC defender RJ Allen.
"It is a proud day any time we can add to the number of players representing our academy system with the first team," said Curtis. "Their success thus far is a testament to what can be accomplished by a hardworking player in the Red Bulls' developmental model."
Etienne, a native of Paterson, N.J., joined the Red Bulls academy as an under-14 player and advanced through the developmental system. He captained the Red Bulls' U-18s in the Fall of 2014, a season capped off by winning the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase. Etienne was one of several Red Bulls academy players to earn time with New York Red Bulls II in the United Soccer League last summer.
"It's a great feeling," said Etienne on Monday. "Being in the Academy for six years, being able to sign with the First Team, it's a great feeling. Knowing some of the guys, I feel this is like finally getting the process going, it's great."
Etienne made 17 appearances as a freshman for the defending national champion Cavaliers. He scored two goals and added an assist, earning a spot on the ACC All-Rookie team as Virginia went 10-5-3 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and his father's native Haiti. He has appeared at several youth international levels for Haiti, most notably as part of Haiti's side for the U-20 CONCACAF Championships last January.
The Red Bulls academy, part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, is one of the premier development programs in the United States. The Red Bulls programs annually top the club national rankings, with all teams currently either first or second nationally in their respective age groups. The U-13s, U-14s and U-16s all finished as the top-ranked team in the final Top Drawer Soccer rankings for the Fall, while the U-18s finished second.
Additional Quotes from Red Bulls Signings
On excelling through the Red Bulls youth system to the First Team:
It's very special, only a handful of guys have actually done it so just to be a part of that elite group, it's an amazing feeling, it's something I can't even describe.
On what it's like to be a part of an organization that focuses on Homegrown talent:
It feels good to know that they believe in their academy system and they're showing belief in their players. They have Matt Miazga whose playing now, so hopefully I'm going to be one of those names that end up on the 18 and even the [starting] XI.
On the organization's focus on Homegrown talent:
Jesse [Marsch] and I had a conversation the other day just about the Homegrowns and how they're bringing people up. I think it's going to be a big part [of this team] and it's good for me and good for the guys coming up so it's good for the Academy to see that the Homegrowns are coming up, I think it's good.
On the First Team:
They're a good team. I haven't met anybody yet, but I'm excited to meet the guys and I hope I get along with everybody.