On Friday, July 17th, the USL Championship will recommence behind closed doors with New York Red Bulls II’s long-awaited return to play against Hartford Athletic. This game will provide a bright spot for many soccer fans, who have been eagerly anticipating the return of professional soccer, and – with it – a slight sense of normalcy.
Red Bulls Pre-Academy players have been looking forward to this game more than most, however. When the NYRB II players take to the field, they will be wearing customized jerseys which feature the names of Red Bulls youth players embroidered into the very fabric of their uniform. As part of NYRB II’s annual Futures Night, this unprecedented gesture acknowledges Red Bulls Pre-Academy players as an essential pillar of the club.
Showcasing the names of over one hundred youth soccer players, the slick jersey fades from red to black, with red representing the club’s foundation, and the player names representing the club’s future. Never before have the youngest players at a professional team received such recognition, and it’s a move that truly embodies the culture of the club.
The Pre-Academy players had initially expected to watch the first ever Futures Night in person, with the game originally scheduled for mid-May. Nonetheless, the fact that the game will be played without a live crowd will not dampen their enthusiasm, with a virtual watch party being held for them to share this incredible experience together, even during a time of social distancing.
Following the game, all match-worn jerseys will be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to Wings for Life, Red Bulls’ charitable arm dedicated to researching spinal cord injuries. Each game worn jersey will proudly feature the Wings for Life patch on the right arm to raise awareness for this fantastic cause.
New York Red Bulls II vs. Hartford Athletic will air live on ESPN+ at 7pm on Friday.
Find out more information on Wings for Life, and to make a donation, visit https://www.wingsforlife.com/us/.
For more information on Red Bulls Pre-Academy, and to learn how your child can have their name added to the 2021 Futures Night jersey, visit https://www.newyorkredbulls.com/youth/pre-academy.