By DAN KARELL
In addition to their active roster of 26 players, the New York Red Bulls have invited ten trialists to join the squad in Florida for preseason training.
Among the unsigned players include three members of the Red Bulls development academy, two former members who are still eligible to sign a homegrown contract, both draft selections at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, and three guest players. The guest players include former New England Revolution defender Tyler Polak, an American-born Ecuadorian defender Miguel Ibarra, and former Cameroon youth international Ambroise Oyongo.
The 27-year-old Ibarra is not related to Minnesota United FC midfielder Miguel Ibarra.
The total squad currently in Orlando numbers 32 players, as newly-signed defenders Armando and Richard Eckersley still awaiting their paperwork to be filed and Dax McCarty and Eric Alexander are with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Red Bulls will remain training in Orlando until Feb. 7, and then will return to Orlando ten days later for the start of the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Former U.S. Under-17 internationals Chris Lema, Evan Lauro, and recent U.S. Under-20 call-up Arun Basuljevic are all earning a taste of first-team training with the call up from the academy. Forward Sammy Adjei (Iona College) and midfielder Widner Saint Cyr (University of Maryland) are the two academy graduates in camp with the Red Bulls.
Both right back Chris Duvall (22nd overall pick) and midfielder Eric Stevenson (34th overall) will battle for a roster spot in the coming weeks. Though the Red Bulls just acquired Eckersley, another right back, in a trade, there’s still a chance that Duvall could sign with the team on the back of a solid preseason.
Polak, 21, was a member of the Revolution for the last two seasons, though found playing time hard to come by this past year. The former Creighton left back spent a majority of the 2013 season on loan with the USL Pro Rochester Rhinos, making 17 appearances.
Though he’s played in Ecuador for his whole career, full back Miguel Ibarra was actually born in New York and lived there until he was three years old. Most recently playing for SD Quito, Ibarra made 30 appearances in 2013. Ibarra also has four caps for Ecuador, though they were all in friendly matches. According to the Ecuadorian federation, Ibarra joined Universidad Catolica del Ecuador in the Ecuadorian first division on Jan. 1 but it seems he’s being allowed to trail with the Red Bulls.
He’s previously said in an interview with MLSSoccer.com that he’s interested in playing in MLS.
Finally, Oyongo, also a defender, has only played in his native Cameroon for Coton Sport in his career. He was on the bench for two of Cameroon’s World Cup qualifiers last year and has been linked with a move to Lille in Ligue 1 for the last six months.
What do you think of these trialists? Do you see the Red Bulls signing any of the guest players? Think that the Homegrown signings from last year will get more playing time in 2014?
Share your thoughts below.