Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Bulls Notes: Ream, Trialists and a Residential Academy?

The Hard Work Starts Now
The Red Bulls preseason got underway in earnest today at Montclair State University, as an expanded group of players reported to camp, including a massive 12-13 trialists. The size of the group is hardly surprising, considering the number of reserve and fringe players the club has shed since November. Strangely, none of RBNY's supplemental picks were included on the list, but that may just have been an oversight. Dave Martinez at Empire of Soccer provides a little more info on the trialists, which includes several players with USL and/or NASL experience, a few MLS veterans, and a couple of overseas players, such as Tom Williams, the English journeyman left back.

The most intriguing names on the list? Two key players from last season's FC New York squad - Jhonny Arteaga and Quame Holder - and New Jersey high school legend Jose Angulo, now with Harrisburg City Islanders. For more information on Angulo, check out this 2007 article from Ives Galarcep, who followed him closely during his years at St. Benedict's Prep.

Interestingly, players not listed by the Red Bulls also include goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo, whose official signing would appear to be imminent, and Icelandic midfielder Victor Pálsson (formerly of Hibs), who is - according to a report this morning on Sky Sports - on the verge of agreeing to a deal with RBNY.

In other news, Brian Lewis of the New York Post has some great information on the sale of Tim Ream to Bolton Wanderers, which is expected to be consummated very shortly. According to Lewis, because Ream is technically considered a third year player, the Red Bulls would be eligible to receive 2/3 of his total transfer fee, rather than half as we had assumed. Of that 2/3, $650,000 would an allocation that can be used toward player salaries or traded away in part for, say, the rights to Wilman Conde. The only catch is that the money must be used over the next three transfer windows, plus the 15 or so days remaining in the current one. The Red Bulls would also have Ream's $65,000 salary off their books, of course.

The remaining money can be used for a number of purposes, including the academy, training facilities and even designated player salaries. Perhaps the most exciting news in Lewis' piece, however, comes right at the end, when Erik Solér discusses the possibility of the Red Bulls establishing a residential academy, on the European model, that would be the first of its kind in MLS. This would seem to be a project still in its infancy, but it would be a huge development if it were to become a reality. If the Red Bulls can establish something along the lines of Ajax's famous academy, which you can read about in a fantastic article the New York Times published in 2010, they could have a big leg up on the rest of the league. This is an area where the financial muscle of Red Bull and the club's more European outlook might provide an advantage. Stay tuned.
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