Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Kids are Alright

As we sit impatiently rapping our fingers on the table and waiting for the Red Bulls to make the big sporting director/head coach announcement, Soccer by Ives reported today that RBNY has offered a contract to USA U-17 and Red Bull Academy striker Juan Agudelo. Taken together with the recent news that U-20 standout Dilly Duka has signed with MLS (and very well may be selected by the Red Bulls with the second overall pick of this winter's Superdraft), Red Bulls fans can at least start to feel positive about the possible future direction of the team after a painful season.

There has been a lot to criticize about the Red Bull regime in New York since 2006, including short-sighted managerial decisions, bad signings and dimwitted marketing schemes, not to mention the outright lunacy of putting incompetents such as Marc DeGrandpre and Jeff Agoos in charge of the club's day to day affairs. But RBNY's real and sustained investment in developing a legitimate academy system is one area where Austria can't be faulted. Of course it remains to be seen whether players such as Agudelo, Duka and Matt Kassel will eventually have an impact on the first team, let alone be signed to senior contracts. But with so little to feel good about apart from the move to Red Bull Arena, it's nice to see that local kids are coming through the system and the club is drawing on the deep reservoir of local talent.

Now can someone please have a word with Don Garber about further loosening academy restrictions?
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