Forward Jake Lacava journey to the professional ranks is very different from some. Lacava started with the Regional Development School (RDS) for three years and then joined the Academy.
He then moved to be a part of the Barca Residency Academy in 2017, where he met Academy Director Sean McCafferty.
“We first identified Jake at one of our Talent ID Camps in Casa Grande, AZ where you could see that he had great pace & power,” McCafferty said. “As we got to know him better, we quickly found out that he had a fantastic work ethic and learning capacity which ensured he was a difference maker at the Academy level.”
While at Barca Residency Academy, Lacava appeared in 34 matches and recorded 14 goals, including 13 in one season.
The forward then kept on going west to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2018, eventually returning to Red Bulls Academy in 2019. He made eight appearances for the U-19’s, while recording one goal.
One year later in the midst of the pandemic, Lacava signed his first professional contract on July 3, 2020 with New York Red Bulls II.
“It was a crazy and unconventional first season, but we worked hard and there were some incredible moments,” Lacava said.
The New Milford, Connecticut native made the most of his opportunities, appearing in all 15 matches after the restart and recording five goals. His first professional goal came against Loudoun United FC on August 29.
He tallied three assists and also was named to the Week 10 USL Championship Team of the Week for his efforts in the August 29 match against Loudoun.
“Jake’s growth as a player since his arrival to the Red Bulls organization has been excellent. He has worked hard to continue to keep himself in great condition physically and he has adapted very well to our playing philosophy,” McCafferty said. “Jake has transitioned to the professional level very well and his goals and assists are a reflection of the hard work he puts in every day to become an impact player. We are pleased with his progress to this point but are more excited about his potential for the future.”
When the 2020 USL Championship season concluded, Lacava quarantined and went right into training with the first team.
“Being able to have the opportunity to train with first team was amazing. In the month, I was able to take the opportunity to improve and learn a lot,” Lacava said.
With the 2021 season on the horizon, Lacava has already begun preparation for the year.
“I really have not taken much time off,” Lacava said. “Using the off-season to really fine tune my game has always been important to me.”
New York Red Bulls II missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, Lacava is looking to not repeat that again.
“I want to score goals, create chances, and assist my teammates,” Lacava said. “Giving my best to them and the club, I always want to help us keep improving and push all the way to playoffs.”
In his rookie season, he led the team in shots (28), shots on target (17), and left footed goals (3). After a solid first year, Lacava is looking to capitalize on his opportunities and push himself towards his goals.
“I am always improving my play and I would love to use this season to show my depth,” Lacava said. “I want to use this season to showcase my abilities to push for first team and national team opportunities.”