It's a new era for the New York Red Bulls, but it'll be familiar to those who have followed the club for years.
Head coach Gerhard Struber is set for his first full season with the club, as his appointment as well as the offseason recruitments signaled a doubling down on the familiar Red Bull way -- high-pressing, high-energy and a commitment to developing young players.
Defender Aaron Long, one of the team's few key players in their late 20s, is ready for it.
“That brand is going to be there. We’re going to be a high-pressing team, a high-energy team and a young team," Long told media on a virtual press conference. "That’s going to be very familiar to you guys and the fans, which in a lot of ways is great, because that is our reputation. That’s what we’re comfortable with and proud of.”
Struber arrives to take charge of the club after beginning his coaching career in the RB Salzburg academy then made waves in England with Barnsley, outperforming expectations and lauded by neutrals for his high-octane play. Only Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United averaged more defensive actions up the field in the league than Struber's Barnsley.
On the player acquisition side, Red Bulls have had a busy offseason.
Tim Parker and Kaku were the biggest names to depart among eight from last year's squad, while 10 players have arrived (so far, with reported chases of Frankie Amaya and a Polish youth international forward from Celtic). RBNY added Fabio, Andres Reyes and Tom Edwards and plenty others to headline to the offseason shopping spree.
No player above the age of 24 was acquired.
“The club is doubling down on going younger, more high-energy and diving into our identity," Long said. "It’s going to be a challenge for Gerhard to get us acclimated in a short amount of time, but we’re very excited about this group and we’re hoping for big things this year.”
Amid the squad revolution, Long remains.
That topic has been a bit of a difficult one for the US international. Long has been public in his desire to head to Europe at some point, while clubs from England and France have registered bids and interest at various stages over the last two years. All the while, Long has seen a number of Americans seal moves to Europe from MLS.
“I love to see young Americans go abroad, it’s great for the game," Long said. "It’s great for their experience, it’s their dream. Whenever I get to see a player or know a player get to go, it’s unbelievable. I’m talking to these guys as much as I can."
Long still may follow one day.
"In terms of my situation with the Red Bulls, I'm just going to try to make the best of it, and we’ll see what happens," Long said.