HANOVER, N.J. – On a typical Monday morning, the fields at the New York Red Bulls training facility will be empty save two figures. Assistant coach Ibrahim Sekagya and midfielder Sean Davis will be on the pitch, doing ball work and training drills even when the rest of the first team has the day off.


Those sessions are paying off for the second-year midfielder who has been a revelation for his club in recent weeks. He should also prove essential in their Soccer Sunday showdown against fierce rivals D.C. United (3 pm ET, ESPN).


Davis has shown his tremendous upside with three solid league starts in the center of the midfield over the past two weeks. He assumed the role in the starting 11 when captain Dax McCarty went down for at least a month with a broken tibia, and since then has shown creativity in the midfield, good passing and vision along with some defensive bite.


His goal in last Saturday's 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact was something those who have seen the Monday training sessions recount him practicing dozens of times. That cool, calm and clinical finishing has reaped two goals in as many games for the 23-year old midfielder.


Those sessions with Sekagya, a former Ugandan international who played with the Red Bulls for two seasons before retiring in 2014, have been instrumental for Davis. Given a crowded and talented central midfield for the Red Bulls that features All-Star Sacha Kljestan as well as Felipe and the aforementioned McCarty, quality minutes were hard to come by for the second-year Homegrown.


He trained on off days with Sekagya to stay fit and ready, also often logging extended time after team training sessions.

Red Bulls' Sean Davis seizes his opportunity, "shows the way" in midfield - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/styles/image_landscape/s3/mp6/image_nodes/2015/07/SeanDavis.jpg

Now he looks every bit the part of a rising star, including now two starts in the CONCACAF Champions League. The transition has been seamless, and despite being just 23 years old, he is also quietly showing his leadership as he helps anchor the midfield.


“I guess I’ve heard it from the staff that they want me to step up,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com. “They know that I’ve been able to be a leader for the younger guys with the group – [and] with the USL team when I’ve been with them. It’s about having the confidence to do that at the highest level.


“[I'm] just looking to help the team as much as I can. If that means being a leader, then I’ll definitely do that and try to do whatever I can to help.”


It shouldn’t be considered too much of a surprise. In college at Duke, he was twice captain of the Blue Devils and he has regularly worn the captain’s armband over the past two years with RBNY's USL team.


Even before he joined the Red Bulls Academy, he remembers being a captain for his club teams, and the leadership responsibility that was placed on his shoulders.


“I think he’s a good person. He says the right things but more importantly, he shows the way to act, shows the way to be a good teammate. Sean has established himself almost from day 1 with our entire group,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “We have our Leadership Council and there often been discussions if Sean should be in that, based on the fact that he shows real leadership qualities – and in some ways we could use a representative from the younger group.


“The best part for me is that Sean’s taken this opportunity in a big way. Even more so, he has gotten better as each game’s gone. He’s shown more savviness and understanding of what is happening in each game … [He's] a presence in not only how he plays, but by how he makes the guys around him better with that understanding.”