For the 16 members of the 2005’s squad it has been a year of new experiences. Comprising of players from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the group of players from far and wide began their journey in September of 2016. A pre-season orientation day at Red Bull Arena was followed by the opportunity to be ball boys in the MLS victory over Orlando SC, before the team boarded the coach for Fort Ann, NY where they would enjoy a week long pre-season training camp at Golden Goal.
Boasting several MLS teams including Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew and hosts Toronto, the RDS teams more than held their own in the 7v7 competition, as both teams progressed all the way through the group stages and knockout rounds and into the final, finishing with first and second place overall between the two teams.
As well as playing 6 tournament games, the boys found some time to take in some culture and do some sight seeing, enjoying a trip to downtown Toronto to take in the sights from the CN Tower.
In the spring of 2017 the RDS Team went cross-country as they competed in the MLS Generation Adidas Cup. The premier tournament for U12 clubs featured 18 MLS academies as well as two representatives from Spain in the form of Malaga and Villarreal. Results during the week may not have been what the team had been hoping for, but the experience of going away from home as a team and competing against top level national and international opposition will undoubtedly hold the players in good stead for the future.
Upon returning to NJ the boys were straight back into EDP action, going undefeated in the league after a solitary defeat in their opening game of the season.
To mark the end of a special season, and a special group of players, the Red Bull Arena doors were opened to the team for a one off end of season game on the field. Treated to the VIP treatment, the young RDS players changed in the first team dressing room, before playing out a thrilling game in front of their on looking friends and families. A final score of 12 to 11 represented a fitting end to a year that had been full of goals.
The game at Red Bull Arena not only marked the end of the team’s season, but also the end of the 2005 team as a whole. No fewer than eight of the RDS squad received offers to move into the Red Bulls academy side for the 2017/18 season, with all of the remaining players moving onto local US Soccer Development Academy clubs to continue their journey and development in the game.
2017/18 will see the RDS Regional Team program continue to grow, with three teams in the 2007 age group and three teams in the 2008 age group. With the teams spread across three geographical regions, New Jersey, New York North comprising of Westchester and Rockland County, and New York South comprising of Queens and Long Island the RDS Regional Teams program will continue to offer young players in the metro area the best possible developmental experience in a truly professional environment.