WALDWICK, N.J. – On the same day they opened preseason camp, the New York Red Bulls confirmed on Tuesday that University of Maryland midfielder Matt Kassel has signed a contract with the club as a Home Grown player.
A product of the Red Bulls Academy, Kassel is the third Home Grown player to join the senior roster. The other two signings include forwards Giorgi Chirgadze and Juan Agudelo, who received his second US national team cap last weekend in a 1-1 draw against Chile.
Kassel was a standout midfielder at the local Bridgewater-Raritan High School and has been a part of the youth national-team setup. He did not train with his new Red Bulls teammates on Tuesday morning, as he was undergoing a physical.
Red Bulls sporting director Erik Solér confirmed the signing and cited it as a crucial part of the team’s development.
“I think maybe it is the single most important factor [for] the club,”Solér said. “We’re very excited to get a third player in the academy into the first-team roster.”
While in college, Kassel made 68 appearances for the Terrapins, scoring 11 goals and assisting 24 times.
Besides Agudelo and Chirgaze, the Red Bulls Academy has produced players such as the Columbus Crew’s Dilly Duka and Sacir Hot, a U-20 national-team member who is currently on trial in Germany.
A league source told MLSSoccer.com two weeks ago that Hot has been in discussions with the Red Bulls about becoming their fourth Home Grown player. Hot played in a reserve match with Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach a week ago but is currently on trial with Borussia Dortmund.
“We like Sacir,” Solér said. “We think he’s a good talent. We’ve been in touch with the [player] and his representatives.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer