The 2013 MLS Supporters’ Shield-winning New York Red Bulls announced Jan. 27 that they acquired Eckersley from Toronto FC in exchange for New York’s natural 2017 MLS SuperDraft fourth round pick. Eckersley will be added to New York’s roster pending P-1 Visa approval and after he passes a team physical.
“We were impressed with Richard’s play at Toronto FC and are delighted to acquire him. He has a good soccer brain and is an energetic defender who can also provide positive attacking qualities on the flanks,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. “Richard will immediately provide another solid and versatile option for us on our backline and will certainly compete for a starting role on our team.”
Eckersley, who primarily plays as a fullback, moved to Major League Soccer when he joined Toronto FC on loan from English side Burnley in April 2011. He was a consistent face on Toronto’s backline over the last three seasons, appearing in 72 matches and being named to Toronto’s starting eleven 70 times. He appeared in 16 games for Toronto last season, all of which were starts.
The Englishman started his career at Manchester United’s academy program. He then progressed to Manchester United’s reserve side in 2007 and made two first team appearances from 2007-09. The 24-year-old earned the first medal of his career when he was named to the 18-man roster for United’s League Cup Final victory over Tottenham Hotspur in March 2009.
Eckersley signed with Burnley in July 2009 and was part of loan deals at English clubs Plymouth Argyle (2010), Bradford City (2011) and Bury (2011).