The New York Red Bulls will play their third preseason game in Tucson on Wednesday when they meet Columbus Crew.
Tim Parker, who recorded 2,387 minutes in the 2019 season, has provided a voice of leadership throughout the preseason camps in Florida and Arizona.
“Preseason has been going pretty well, there's a new leadership group that we have going on around here,” he said. “So taking ownership of that, and then getting these young guys to buy into the system, how we want to play, and how we want to do things, it's pretty important.”
The leadership provided by players like Parker, Ryan Meara and Sean Davis has been instrumental as the team integrates young and new players into the team.
“I think we've had a really good attitude and mentality, on and off field. And I think overall there's a lot of good vibes going on,” Parker said.
During the Atlanta United scrimmage game, the first match in Florida, there was a moment when both Parker and rookie Patrick Seagrist were on the sidelines. Parker used that time to chat and guide Seagrist as he was taking his first steps as part of the Red Bulls’ defensive line. Scenes like these have been common during the preseason, and Parker sees them as important actions to do on and off the field.
“I think what we really want to stress going into the end of last year, and into the beginning of this year is how much we can talk to each other on the field,” he said. “So for me, it's about moving the line, organizing the guys in front of me and hoping that those guys can do their part in organizing the guys in front of them. But I think it's all a testament to how we play, how much we can talk to one another.”
Around the team, excitement is building up as the start of the new season nears.
“I think I’m very excited, you know the off-season was a long one, so I'm looking forward to the first game,” he said. “Obviously it’s coming a little bit earlier in March and then the rest of the season to follow, so I think a lot of the guys are getting pretty anxious now as we get to the last two preseason games. We're looking forward to the home opener.”