MLS- New York Red Bulls

Ogunbiyi won't show for Red Bulls camp, Brunner will

Babajide Ogunbiyi (YellowCardJournalism)  

                                                    Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ Photos

A central defender drafted by New York with a second round pick will be taking the field this week when the New York Red Bulls begin training for rookies and non-roster invitees, but it won't be the player you were expecting.

Babajide Ogunbiyi, the No. 18 pick in last week's 2009 MLS Draft, is returning to Santa Clara to finish school and won't join the Red Bulls for pre-season until March at the earliest. According to Ogunbiyi's agent, Patrick McCabe, MLS failed to offer Ogunibiyi a contract before the MLS Draft so he will now complete his studies before joining the Red Bulls and discussing a contract in March.

So what second-rounder will be in Red Bulls training camp? Eric Brunner, the No. 16 player taken in the 2008 MLS Draft, will be joining the Red Bulls for training this week with an eye toward possibly re-signing with the club he left last spring after rejecting a paycut.

Currently under contract to Miami FC of USL-1, Brunner could rejoin the Red Bulls for the 2009 season if the club agrees to pay what one source called a "modest fee" to Miami for Brunner's rights.

Ogunbiyi and Brunner could both challenge for playing time on a Red Bulls squad that lost central defenders Jeff Parke, Gabriel Cichero and Diego Jimenez from last year's team (while adding veteran Mike Petke in the process).

What is my take? MLS definitely dropped the ball in not offering a contract to Ogunbiyi, who was easily one of the most impressive players at the MLS Combine. A 6-foot-4, 212 pound mountain of a central defender, Ogunbiyi is now a free agent and could theoretically go abroad if he chose to. As for Brunner, a year playing in USL-1 could only have helped his development and chances of contributing to the Red Bulls this season.

What do you think of these developments? Share your thoughts below.

  • Eugene

    Good news on Brunner. I guess we’ll see on Ogunbiyi.

    While watching the Steelers-Ravens game last night, I was asking my friend where he thought a 6’4″ 212-lb guy could play on an NFL team. Wide Receiver. Sure enough, one of the wide receivers in the game was in fact 6’4″ 212-lb.

    Interesting what we think of as “big” in soccer vs. “big” in the NFL.


  • Mark

    I really hope this doesn’t become another bad move by the Red Bull front office. If you draft the guy, I really hope they can sign him. And now Brunner is back and they’ll have to pay a fee to get him back. At least Boyens was a productive player, so I won’t kill them over that.


  • lakaix15

    We better sign this B.O. guy before he goes back to school like what chicago did with Nyarko…. Ima be oissed off If we get Brunner except B.O.


  • Travis in Miami

    Brunner was very good last year at Miami FC. Soon after he arrived and started playing the team went on a nice run of shutouts.


  • Tim F.

    All clubs need to be aware of what players are not under contract. Are the Red Bulls aware of these facts?


  • lou

    We need both for sure, we don’t have enough players on defense rite now so two promising big central defenders would be awesome. I hope he decides to come back and i hope we sign brunner. Worst case scenario we don’t get either and that would just be horrible.


  • Steve

    Is it just me or does this type of thing only happen to the Red Bulls??

    The craziest scenarios always seem to happen to this club.


  • Isaac

    Young players like Brenner and Ogunbiyi have a very good chance of joining the Re Bulls and getting playing time right away due to all the defensive problems they have.


  • lakaix15

    Kids now a days dont take this league seriously because of the contracts that they get…. its more productive to finish school and then go play pro then not finish and go….

    the new CBA need to give Draftees more money….


  • undrafted

    I’m sure Red Bull knew who was under contract (seems to be Cronin, Lahoud, White, Besler, & Pontius). In the second round there are rarely contracted players to choose from. The reason being that it could actually hurt players draft stock as teams don’t want the player to end up on the senior roster. 5 is actually on the high side for pre-draft signings of seniors. With the expansion of senior rosters to 20, I’d agree it’s time for MLS to sign more seniors pre-draft, especially in years like this one when 15-20 are thought to have a good shot of sticking around a while.


  • Trex

    Yes they have a good chance of getting playing time due to the mess we have in the back… but the real question should be, are these guys going to give us an improved D from last year??? I know that’s impossible to tell and they need development, but if they’re going to be just as vulnerable then we are still going to need some other alternatives to start on a regular basis.

    Just saying.


  • eric

    I bet they came to him after the draft with something like $18k. I wish the next salary cap could give $40k minimums, average $100k for subs you use, and $200k average for starters + 2 DP’s. Call it a $3M cap and totally exempt 2 DP’s for 24 spots with a minimum that doesn’t ask kids to go into debt to play in MLS. How would this possibly sink the league, and not significantly raise the level of play?


  • eric

    And I empathize with guys making nothing, I chased a dream to make independent films, and have been successful enough to make several, but in cash have made about $20k a year for the last 3 years. I’m a married man and the in-laws are proud and supportive, but getting nervous. Why the league thinks giving young players the stress of living on such low wages (and often in much more expensive areas) is a good idea is beyond me.


  • Mentz

    Brunner never really had a chance to get going after that nasty facial injury. I’d love to see the Red Bulls re-acquire him and give him a chance to contribute to our most needed positional upgrade.

    As for this year’s 2nd rounder, I’m not sure if this was MLS or the Bulls to blame, but sounds like someone dropped the ball…


  • Modibo

    lakaix15, Nyarko was Generation Adidas, and was already committed to MLS and the Fire when he went back to Virginia to finish college. The worst case scenario for RBNY would be what happened to the Fire with Dom Cervi last year – no contract before the draft, negotiations broke down, and Cervi flew the coop for Euro glory.

    OK, well, forget the glory part. Anyways, RBNY and MLS could be out in the cold again with a hot prospect.


  • SJQuakesFan

    Note to RBNY fans: As a Santa Clara alumnus who has followed Ogunbiyi for some time, he goes by Jide, not Babajide.

    Thus, calling him BO, while not technically incorrect, is a little bit off.

    That said, Jide is a big, powerful kid with a huge upside. He’s a bit raw technically and needs to work on his first touch and ball control skills. On the other hand, he learns fast, wins everything in the air and is first to most balls in free space, and has the size, strength, and quickness to make it in this league. Good pickup by RBNY. He’ll serve you guys well for years to come.


  • undrafted

    college seniors taken in last years 2nd round: Salinas, Brunner, Josten, Ely Allen, Pierre-Louis, Yomby William, Leathers, Lowry, Germanese, Edwards. Bolted for Europe: Jacobsen & Videira.

    How many ended the season on senior contracts? 2. Salinas & Edwards. Brunner refused a developmental contract and William was cut from KC. So MLS initally got the services of 7 of the 10 for developmental deals. By year 2, Videira has returned, Jacobsen is talking about returning, and Brunner is coming to preseason. So the 3 bothered by the economics are still in the system. Josten, Pieree-Louis, and William were waived. NE declined renewing Germanese (though he may trial in preseason).

    So is it really in MLS’s economic interest to give senior roster level deals to the bulk of the potential second rounders before the draft? When teams know they can probably sign the guy on a developmental deal and only have around a 50% chance of producing a real prospect by year 2? It’s not unheard of for 2nd rounders to finish school before joining their team. IIRC Germanese and Pierre-Louis did it last year.

    Now this year may be different with the deep draft, but history shows it’s not that necessary for MLS to ink 2nd rounders before the preseason. Such a move will generally cost the league money as these players are willing to work for less. I’m not so sure NY were already 100% sure they wanted to use a senior roster spot on Ogunbiyi.


  • Haig

    Isn’t Celtic planning on signing Cervi, but is just waiting on his Italian passport?

    Most players in the draft do not have a contract until after they are drafted. It’s ridiculous to say that this is something NY should have considered. Ogunbiyi can’t do what Cepero’s doing, and finish school while playing, since his school is 3000 miles away. I would expect him to join the team after the pre-season. This is just not a big deal.


  • Andre`

    I called it about a week ago when it comes to Brunner. I figured they would invite him to training camp, see if he deserves a senior spot.

    With regards to Ogunbiyi it’s a real shame that he wasn’t signed Pre-draft, but hopefully he winds up with the team, as I feel he’d provide strong depth at a cheap price, which we’ll need with the packed schedule coming up this season.


  • Justin T

    You RBNY fans are a bit selfish. Good for the kid. As a pro, it is so easy to get hurt…then what? He has something to fall back on.

    His education > your selfish need to see him right away


  • Justin T

    My bad…I stopped reading after he will be joining in March. Too bad MLS didn’t offer him a contract immediately. Happy he is going back to school though.


  • Steve

    Stop the whining!

    MLS signed what they thought were the best prospects for the league in terms of affordability and future value.

    Its smart for the kid to work on his degree (how many Americans are really making it in soccer?) and its smart for the league not to sign every prospect out there.

    There will always be players running off to Europe or even the (gasp) A-League. We as MLS fans can’t even adequately support a game of the week, we expect discount tickets, yet demand more singings, increased salary caps, yada yada yada.

    Where’s the entitlement coming from? Get over ourselves (the missing Y not a typo).


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