On October 29, New York Red Bulls II announced that the club exercised the options of five players for the 2016 USL season: Stefano Bonomo, Devon Williams, Dan Metzger, Konrad Plewa and Rafael Diaz. This week, we’ll examine Konrad Plewa and his 2015 season.
Konrad Plewa signed as a member of New York Red Bulls II on March 27, 2015. The 6-foot-2 defender/midfielder from Seton Hall University is a former Red Bulls Academy player that played for Red Bulls U-18, and was named First Team All-State by Star Ledger and listed as a top recruit by ESPN RISE. He also played for Red Bulls U-23 in the National Premier Soccer League while in college.
At Seton Hall, he played four years and was a BIG EAST Academic All-Star, leading the team in assists his sophomore season. By the end of his college career, Plewa made more than 50 appearances in midfield and defense, finishing with two goals and five assists.
Following his senior season, Red Bulls II Head Coach John Wolyniec reached out to him about playing for the team. He joined the club for preseason and started in the club’s inaugural USL match on March 28, 2015. Despite exiting the match in the first half with an injury, he returned to the lineup less than a month later.
He made his second start on April 26 against Rochester Rhinos, and established himself as a staple in the NYRB II lineup. Despite starting in defense in the first game of the season, this time he was utilized at midfield, a position he would remain at for the first half of the season.
In the midst of a six-game road trip on June 20, Plewa scored his first USL goal against Louisville City FC in the 4th minute. The goal proved to be the game-winner in a shutout victory, 2-0, and was the beginning of an impressive run for the 23-year old.
In the following game versus Saint Louis FC, he entered the match at halftime and scored his second game-winning goal in eight days, which became a USL Goal of the Month nominee. In the 90th minute, he scored again to put away the match, 4-1, and was named to the USL Team of the Week. His two game-winning goals were the most on the team in 2015.
After returning from the road trip, Plewa made the switch to center back, a position he would remain at for the rest of the season. On July 22, he made his First Team debut as a starter against Chelsea FC in the International Champions Cup. He played the entirety of the first half and held the defending English Premier League champions to one goal in the first 45 minutes. New York went on to win the match, 4-2.
By the end of the regular season, Plewa played 1663 USL minutes. He made 24 appearances, including 19 starts, with three goals and one assist. In the 2015 USL Playoffs, Plewa started and played the full 120 minutes in Red Bulls II’s first ever playoff game against Pittsburgh Riverhounds, an overtime victory, 4-2. The defender started the following match against Rochester Rhinos, the eventual 2015 USL champions, and received a controversial red card for tugging a Rochester players’ jersey in the 22nd minute. Per USL rules for suspension during the playoffs, he will serve a one-game suspension for the red card in the first regular season game of 2016.
Plewa enjoyed an impressive first season with Red Bulls II and is one of two Red Bulls Academy products to be re-signed to the team. He spent many training sessions with the First Team following the conclusion of the USL season and will look to build upon an impressive first season with the organization next year.