Aaron Long 102517
Mike Dinovo

New York Red Bulls Watched Youth Movement Blossom in 2017

The New York Red Bulls are a team built on veteran leadership, infused with youthful energy. 

That much was evident in 2017, when experienced players like Sacha Kljestan, Luis Robles and Bradley Wright-Phillips set examples for younger guys, like Tyler Adams, Aaron Long and Sean Davis.

"The way they’ve gone on about it has really put these young guys in a position to succeed," Robles said at the team's end of season media availability on Wednesday. "The ceiling that some of these guys have is pretty profound, and amazing, and I’m glad that I get to be a part of that process."

Over the last three seasons, the Red Bulls have increased Homegrown minutes from 3,992 minutes (2015), to 4,098 minutes (2016), to 7,810 minutes this season.

"The team grew over the course of the year and that we’ve set in motion some good building blocks for the future, especially for next season," Captain Sacha Kljestan said.

Adams, who was recently called up to the United States Men's National Team for the first time, appeared in 24 matches for the Red Bulls in 2017 (22 starts). The Homegrown product tallied eight points -- two goals and four assists -- with seven of those points coming in the final five regular season games of the year.

"When these kids come into our changing room, they’re unfazed," Bradley Wright-Phillips said. "I remember being their age and I couldn’t go out and meet the demands of my coaches the way they do. They’re very mature and they stand up to challenges and that’s something to be proud of because I know at that age, I couldn’t do that."

Marsch credits the New York Red Bulls II team for helping players like Adams, Long, Davis and Alex Muyl become the players that shined on the field this season.

"You want to be challenged, you want those demands and you want to grow and come out of it a better player and a better person and that’s what this club is all about," Davis said of the youth movement across the organization. "I think, across the board, every young guy that the club has put their faith in has rewarded the club with their performances and with their attitude. I'm proud of every one of them."