On Friday, May 31, Red Bulls held their sixth annual Select Combine Festival, playing host to an ever-expanding group of select player pathways.
What started as an exhibition game between NJYS Young Olympians and Red Bulls RDS Showcase boys 2002 birth years - way back in 2014 – has grown into a fully-fledged tournament featuring both boys and girls, spanning two age groups from four unique select player pathways.
This years’ event played host to Young Olympians Programs from both New Jersey and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Associations, as well as the Westchester Youth Soccer League Select program, and New York Red Bulls’ Pre-Academy teams. Boys and girls born in 2008 and 2009 were the feature groups, as players sought to test themselves against some of the top talents in the area.
As a pre-cursor to Red Bulls Select Combine, to be held at Golden Goal Tournament Park in late August, the event allows these select pathways to compare methods of good practice, and demonstrate their progression over the past year.
A player-centered environment provided a safe and secure platform for these advanced players to see some of the other top talents in the region, and an opportunity to meet players they would not normally have the opportunity to test themselves against. Once again, RDS graduate and Red Bulls first team player, Ben Mines, was on site to meet and greet players, and provide some words of advice and guidance.
“It’s an event we look forward to every year” said Simon Barrow, Sr Manager of Player Development for RBYP. “We’ve seen so many players from this event go on to represent Red Bulls Academy, and are now reaching the point where several of them are breaking into RBII and close to the first team. Looking back at the first event with the 2002’s, two of the players on that squad (Bryce Lebel and Connor Maurer) made their debuts for Red Bulls II only days ago, so it shows the pathway is for real.”
"We are excited by the growth of our partnership with the Red Bulls over the years,” said Evan Dabby, NJYS Executive Director. “While the Young Olympians Program continues to be a focus, we appreciate the Red Bulls’ support of New Jersey Youth Soccer’s grassroots programs including TOPSoccer and recreation initiatives.”
For more information on how to join the RDS, or any of Red Bulls other select pathways, visit: https://www.redbullsacademy.com/training/rds/