Red Bulls youth prospect Matt Kassel and Major League Soccer are in preliminary negotiations over a contract that could make him the first youth academy player in MLS history to graduate to the senior team.
Kassel, who trained with the Red Bulls on Wednesday, confirmed word from SBI sources that he is in contract talks and could be signed as a Generation adidas player and join the Red Bulls roster and take up a developmental player slot.
"Nothing is set in stone yet but there are talks going on," Kassel said. "Obviously my goal is to become a professional soccer player so hopefully something can be worked out."
Kassel, who was just called in to the U.S. Under-20 national team camp for an upcoming trip to Portugal, will train with the Red Bulls in the coming weeks and could reach a deal some time in early April.
Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos told SBI on Tuesday that the club wants to see Kassel train with the first team before making a decision, but sources tell SBI that is merely a formality and Kassel has been targeted as a player the club plans on adding. The fact he would likely sign as a Generation adidas player, and therefore not count toward one of the team’s 18 senior roster spots, makes his acquisition all the more likely.
"We’re not in a rush, he’s a young player and we want to take our time," Agoos said. "There’s certainly no rush right now. We want to see him train with the first team and figure out if it’s the right move for him and for the club to make."