New York Red Bulls academy - huddle

The New York Red Bulls have announced an Academy Affiliate Program with four local clubs, which is designed to improve the player identification and development of elite youth players, all while giving them more access to high-end opportunities.

The four clubs are Black Watch Premier, Blau Weiss Gottschee, Ironbound Soccer Club and TSF Academy. The most talented players from the Academy Affiliate Program will participate in co-partnered programs operated by both the affiliate club and the New York Red Bulls Academy.

“It is an exciting opportunity to take our partnerships to the next level by collaborating on player identification and development programming,” RBNY head of sport Kevin Thelwell said in a release. “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.”

Further, affiliate clubs will be introduced to a coaching education schedule that's tailored to elite level player identification and development. Mainly drawing players from the tri-state area, RBNY's academy operates in what’s traditionally one of the United States’ most talent-rich areas.

“Developing a strong network of academy affiliates has been a key priority for the New York Red Bulls Academy,” Dave Jervis, RBNY’s senior director of youth programs & academy business operations, said in a release. “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.”

The program already has first-team roots, with right back Kyle Duncan and homegrown attacker Omir Fernandez coming through Blau Weiss Gottschee’s academy. Homegrown left back John Tolkin also developed at Ironbound Soccer Club before joining RBNY.

RBNY historically has one of the league’s strongest academies, helping to develop US men’s national team midfielder Tyler Adams and center back Matt Miazga. Club captain Sean Davis is another homegrown for RBNY.