HARRISON, N.J. – As the 2016 USL season approaches, Red Bulls II will soon begin preseason. After spending two weeks with the First Team in Orlando, Red Bulls II head coach John Wolyniec opened up about his experience during the Red Bulls’ first trip to Florida.
“My main goal was to help with coaching on the field, but maybe more importantly to get to know the young players tasked with coming down to USL,” Wolyniec said. “Also to help players learn the process and the tactics, the teaching methods that we feel are important for them to get better.”
Last season, Red Bulls II was made up of USL players, Red Bulls academy players and First Team players loaned to the club. All three groups, with the exception of a few Red Bulls II players, were present in Orlando.
While getting to know some of the new faces in First Team camp, Wolyniec worked with the Red Bulls II players that made the trip. Stefano Bonomo in particular made a good impression during the two-week camp.
“Stefano was our second round draft choice last year and he joined us halfway through the year and it took him a little while to get up to speed, but he’s come into camp ready to go and has done very well,” Wolyniec said. “I see him being pretty involved with the First Team so it was great to see him off to a good start and really impressing the First Team coaching staff and giving himself a shot of reaching that goal of moving up to MLS.”
In 2015, Bonomo thrived during the final stretch of the season. The forward recorded eight points in the final six games of the season, including three goals and two assists.
Wolyniec also took notice of goalkeeper Rafael Diaz, mentioning that he was able to get up to speed with the First Team. He expressed his potential to make it to the next level, saying that he, “just has to take that next step,” to prove to the First Team staff that he can handle being an MLS goalkeeper.
The Red Bulls II head coach also elaborated on the club’s newest signing, Tim Schmoll, who was also present in Orlando.
“Tim’s an interesting guy…he kind of came on our radar last summer for our U-23s, Rob Elliot did a good job of scouting him, and giving him an opportunity to show what he can do on our amateur level and he impressed,” Wolyniec said. “He’s going to be with us, but he fit in pretty well with the First Team.”
“You could see that he was a little bit behind, but he’s a very mature, intelligent, determined kid that, given some time, will factor into First Team decisions. He’s a great guy, I’m happy to have him and I think he’s going to fill an important role with us.”
Schmoll, a 6-foot-6 defender/midfielder from Harvard, totaled 10 goals and six assists in four years with the Crimson. In 2015 with the Red Bulls U-23, he was named to the PDL All-Eastern Conference team as a center back.
Finally, Wolyniec expressed his eagerness to get NYRB II’s preseason underway.
“I’m excited to get back in my rhythm as a head coach and getting into the rhythm of the season, having regular training sessions and having guys around on a regular basis and to really see where the team shakes out,” Wolyniec said. “I think we did a good job and made some pretty good decisions on keeping some guys around and some of the new guys I think will shake out.”