January 26, 2013
DEVELOPING INTO THE BEST
Soccer America nanes Red Bulls the best boys soccer club in the country
No one was prouder that Red Bulls Academy was ranked No. 1 among boys soccer clubs by Soccer America in 2012 than Bob Montgomery.
Connor Lade, a graduate of the Red Bulls' youth program, is training with the U.S. National Team in Carson, Calif.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In fact, it was one of the Red Bulls director of youth programs' goals to set high standards in developing players.
"It was one of my goals when I came here to be No. 1 in boys soccer in terms of development," Montgomery said.
FC Dallas finished second and the LA Galaxy was third.
The Red Bulls acquitted themselves very, very well -- as a team and individually.
Montgomery realized that if the academy produces good players, winning will take care of itself. And he was correct.
"Our program is based on development," he said in a recent interview. "We have far more players on the national teams than other youth teams."
Indeed. The Red Bulls had an impressive 30 players called into various U.S. national teams last year.
The Red Bulls Academy has seen two players be called into the U.S. National Team -- defender-midfielder Connor Lade and Juan Agudelo, who was traded to Chivas USA last year. Both players are training with the U.S. men as they prepare for the first international match of the year against Canada in Houston on Wednesday.
Another 13 players performed in Red Bulls reserves matches, giving them an opportunity to play with some of the first-team players.
On the team side, the Red Bulls recorded a 1-0 victory over Scott Gallagher (St. Louis) to capture the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Under-15/16 title. Soccer America noted that the team had so much depth that it had seven players who were in the U.S. U-17 residency program in 2012. Those seven players included goal-scorer Alex Muyl and goalkeeper Evan Louro, who compiled three successive clean sheets in the tournament.
Other players made an impact as well. Amando Moreno, in his first games with the U.S. U-18 side in November, scored goals in consecutive matches against Canada. Moreno and keeper Santiago Castano signed professional contract with the Red Bulls. Forward Izzy Tandir will join Sochaux in France this summer.
The Red Bulls obviously want to keep their high standards, and if possible, that No. 1 ranking, and no one has to remind Montgomery.
"Now comes the hard part -- to reset our goals and be even better in the field," he said.
Besides the USSDA and other leagues and competitions, the Red Bulls plans to take their show on the road -- in Europe.
The U-16 team will play in a tournament in Croix, France in May.
The competition includes Red Bull Ghana, Boavista, Hadjuk Split, Austria Vienna, Budapest Honved, Malaga, Porto, Sparta Prague, Torino, FC Nordsjaeland and Croix.
The U-15 side will participate in the First Generation Cup in Salzburg, Austria in August. Red Bull Salzburg is the host and several teams from the Red Bull international system are expected to attend, along with eight other clubs that will be invited.