New York Red Bulls II midfielder Kyle Zajec made his first appearance for NYRB II in the very first match in club history against the Rochester Rhinos. After a four-year collegiate career at Georgetown University, he signed his first professional contract with NYRB II on March 8, 2019.
He finished his first professional season with four goals, with his first two coming against Philadelphia Union II within minutes of each other. After making 20 appearances in 2019, he played the full-90 in the 2020 home opener against Tampa Bay Rowdies. The season provides Zajec with the opportunity to be a vocal leader on the field.
Q: How was your offseason?
Zajec: I had a good offseason. It was nice to relax and recover, after my first professional season. I spent a lot of my time with my family, which was really nice.
Q: What was your favorite memory from your rookie season?
Zajec: I think my favorite moment was scoring my first professional goal against Bethlehem Steel FC last season, which was quickly followed by my second shortly after.
Q: What has been your favorite part about being a part of the Red Bulls family for all these years?
Zajec: My favorite part has been the people. Every year I’ve really enjoyed playing with my teammates and learning from my coaches.
Q: What kind of music have you added to your playlist since the end of last season?
Zajec: I always have country music on my playlist. I’ve added some new EDM songs such as “Just My Luck,” “Free,” and “Stacy.” I’ve also added a couple of Halsey songs.
Q: What was the most important thing you were looking to improve on during preseason?
Zajec: During preseason I wanted to improve my ability to get on the ball and play forward. I also wanted to grow my voice and leadership on the field.
Q: How was your preseason, especially with the opportunity to participate in both preseason trips with the first team?
Zajec: The preseason was great. It’s always nice to see everyone after the break. I really enjoyed my time in Florida and Arizona, especially being with the first team it allowed me to learn a lot.
Q: What are some team-oriented goals that you have in mind for the 2020 season?
Zajec: Our goal every season is to win the USL Championship Final. We would like to have a very strong home record and continue to progress from every result each week.
Q: After the first match of the season, what are some things the team needs to improve on?
Zajec: We need to be able to adapt to how the other team is playing. A lot of teams just try to disrupt our style of play, so we have to be ready for that. Also, I think as the season progresses, we’ll be more decisive and create more in the final third.
Q: What would be your advice to the new guys coming in for their first professional season?
Zajec: My advice would be to try and just enjoy it. It’s a long season, so try to make the most of every day and have fun, while working hard.
Q: Obviously with the temporary suspension of play, what type of shows are you streaming in your free time?
Zajec: I don’t usually watch shows, but currently, I’m watching Better Call Saul and I am waiting for the new season of Billions to be released in May.