The United Soccer League suspended play on March 12, only five days after New York Red Bulls II had their home opener against Tampa Bay Rowdies. Five months later, the club took the field for their second match against Hartford Athletic at Red Bull Arena.
On that night, two academy players made their debuts, which included forward Dantouma Toure and midfielder Daniel Edelman. Five days after that, the team traveled to face Philadelphia Union II, which saw NYRB II defeat them, 5-1. Toure recorded his first professional assist, while Edelman scored his first professional goal. U-19 defender Bo Cummins made his professional debut in that match.
Fast forward to September 9, NYRB II played Union II again and it saw four Academy players take the field for the club, which included Toure, Cummins, Joey Zalinksy, and Kenan Hot.
“They stepped up big throughout the season in big games. They have come up and showed that they are hungry to keep getting minutes and more opportunities,” NYRB II Head Coach John Wolyniec said.
On September 23 against Atlanta United 2, 15-year-old forward Serge Ngoma made his professional debut coming on in the 80th minute. While, U-17 goalkeeper Ciaran Dalton made his debut in the club’s final regular season match against Hartford Athletic.
A total of eight academy players made their first professional appearances this season. They combined for five goals, four assists, and 2,456 minutes played.
“They deserve this time, and they made the most of the opportunities that were presented to them this season,” Wolyniec said.
Aside from current academy players making an impact, Red Bulls Academy graduates made a significant impact for the 2020 season. The most recent Academy graduate that signed with NYRB II was forward Jake Lacava. He added five goals and three assists, which was ranked second on the team in both categories. New York Red Bulls defender and Academy product John Tolkin played and started 12 matches this season, he even got to wear the captains armband for the first time in his professional career. Another graduate, Omar Sowe lead the team in goals scored with seven in his second year with the club.