The New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program, part of the MLS Youth Affiliate Network, is being launched as a platform designed to improve the player identification and development of elite youth level players by providing greater access to high level soccer opportunities.

The most talented players within the Academy Affiliate Program will participate in co-partnered elite player development and talent identification programs operated by both the Affiliate club and the New York Red Bulls Academy.

In addition, each Affiliate will be introduced to a coaching education schedule tailored to elite level player identification and development. See below for quotes on the program and the inaugural member clubs, from the Red Bulls’ front office:

Kevin Thelwell, Head of Sport:
It is an exciting opportunity to take our partnerships to the next level by collaborating on player identification and development programming. We’re grateful to have these new partners on board, and excited to continue to strengthen the soccer community in New York and New Jersey and provide the best possible opportunities for youth players to excel in the game we all love.

Dave Jervis, Senior Director of Youth Programs & Academy Business Operations:
Developing a strong network of Academy Affiliates has been a key priority for the New York Red Bulls Academy. Over the past 12-months, we have carefully built out a robust Affiliate program, through strategic partnerships with other Academies, the program will help expand our current player recruitment reach and provide Affiliate partners with access to a range of unique player development benefits.

Today, the club has announced the four founding members of the New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program: Black Watch Premier, Blau Weiss Gottschee, Ironbound Soccer Club, and TSF Academy.

Sean McCafferty, Academy Director:
Black Watch Premier:
“We are pleased to be able to announce Black Watch Premier (BWP) as one of the founding members of our New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program. We look forward to working with Steve Freeman, his staff and the organization as a whole to not only provide a professional pathway for their current top prospects but to also work closely together on continued coach education and shared best practices. One of our U17 Academy high potential players Nicholas Rabiu is a product of BWP. We look forward to working with Steve Freeman and his staff to ensure they continue to identify, recruit, and develop more players of Nicholas Rabiu’s level. We want to increase the number of top talents coming into the club and more importantly the depth in talent at those key development age groups. This will be the foundation for long term success.

Blau Weiss Gottschee: “It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce Blau Weiss Gottschee as a founding member of our New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program. Paul McGlynn and his staff have a history of developing some of the top talents that New York City has to offer, and it is very evident on our First Team with both Kyle Duncan and Omir Fernandez having come through the BW Gottschee Academy. We look forward to working closely with Paul to identify and recruit new top talents via our collaborative Talent Identification Centers as well as continue to develop the already strong talent pool they have at BW Gottschee. We firmly believe that our Affiliation will be hugely beneficial for both organizations for years to come. We are excited to see who will be the next BW Gottschee player to walk out at Red Bull Arena.”

Ironbound Soccer Club: “We are extremely pleased to announce Ironbound Soccer Club as a founding member of our New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program. We have enjoyed a great partnership with Steve Amorim, John Soares and Alberto Coutinho at Ironbound SC for many years, but the timing was perfect to take it to the next level and elevate the club to ensure they continue to attract and develop the best talent in their area. Ironbound SC have a great history of developing players for New York Red Bulls Academy. One of our most recent Homegrown signings, John Tolkin, is a product of the great work that is being done at the club. We are very confident that the already strong relationship will become even stronger in the years to come. Coach and player development will be two of the most important initiatives we will focus on with the club to ensure the level of teaching and level of play reaches new heights.”

TSF Academy: “It is with great pleasure that we also announce TSF Academy as a founding member of our Academy Affiliate Program. We are looking forward to working with John Saunders, Lee Leonard, Lee Bakewell and their staff with an emphasis on sharing best practices, working on continued coach education and of course top talent identification and development. We are very excited by the opportunity to collaborate with TSF and are very confident that we will have a mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come.”

Fouad Kawtari, Academy Scout:
Black Watch Premier:
“Black Watch Premier (BWP) is a newcomer in our scene and a future force to be reckoned with for sure. New York Red Bulls are excited to be part of their journey and to establish a strong partnership for player development and talent identification in upstate New York. Having BWP onboard, will give us a greater range within the whole state of New York since they operate multiple outlets. This is invaluable in itself in terms of how many players’ we will be able to reach with this partnership in place. Moreover, the club has a strong leadership team with big dreams on fulfilling its players professional level soccer aspirations.”

Blau Weiss Gottschee: “Blau Weiss Gottschee is one of the oldest and most respected soccer clubs within the tri-state area. Having them onboard is a massive plus for us as an organization and, even more so, it is an honor to have the opportunity to share common ideas and goals on player identification with such an established program. With BW Gottschee now in the family, we will have a greater outreach in the area of Queens as well as within the New York City landscape at large – which is paramount for early identification of the most talented young soccer players in NYC.”

Ironbound Soccer Club: “Ironbound Soccer Club is family to us at New York Red Bulls. The club is located only a stone throw away from Red Bull Arena. The club have proven over the years to be more than just an elite level partner with their continuous efforts in engaging the local community; therefore, it is a very important partnership for us with its deep ties to the heart of Newark and Harrison. For us, everything starts within the local community and by having Ironbound SC now elevated as an Academy Affiliate will only further assist us in the early identification of the most talented young soccer players in the area. Finding more stars of the future for our First Team is the ultimate prize.”

TSF Academy: “TSF Academy is a big player in the northern New Jersey elite youth soccer landscape. Therefore, it is with great honor that we also get to welcome them into the New York Red Bulls family. We both have a common goal in mind: providing young aspiring soccer players an opportunity to fulfil their potential and reach their dreams of playing professional soccer. It is a long overdue partnership, and we know we cannot succeed at identifying talented young soccer players alone without a strong network of trusted partners. Today, we have certainly found that in our affiliation with TSF Academy.”

Ryan Brooks, Senior Manager of Academy Business Operations:
“We have spent the last 12-months developing a robust Academy Affiliate strategic plan with the top clubs in the tri-state area. The New York Red Bulls Academy Affiliate Program will now provide The Academy with a more formal pathway for those players who have First Team aspirations and beyond. We aim to fully support our Affiliates and strengthen their player development model within their respective markets. This announcement is just another step forward in the process, and the real work has just begun.”