Photo by ISIphotos.com
It has been just a little more than two months since the New York Red Bulls lost in their first MLS Cup final appearance and the work is already underway to try and get the team back to the championship game.
The full squad has yet to report to training camp but rookies and free agents have been put through the paces at the Giants Stadium practice bubble this week.
Three of the Red Bulls' four draft picks have been taking part in training, with the only absence being No. 18 overall pick Babajide Ogunbiyi, who is staying in school at Santa Clara to finish the spring semester. He is expected to rejoin the team in March.
So who else has been in the rookie/free agent camp? The group includes some quality college players who weren't drafted and one goalkeeper looking to come back home:
Maryland right back Rich Costanzo, North Carolina midfielder Michael Callahan, UC-Irvine defender Kyle Schmid and former Providence goalkeeper and New Jersey native Chris Konopka have all been in training this week, hoping to land one of the precious few available roster spots.
Costanzo was a starting right back on Maryland's national championship team. He was the lone starting defender not to be drafted after the team's other three starters were taken in the top 19 picks of the draft. Capable of playing right wing as well as right back, Costanzo was a three-year starter at Maryland after starting his college career at Penn State.
Callahan is the most decorated of the free agent college prospects. A second-team All-American for North Carolina, Callahan is a central midfielder who started all four years for the Tar Heels. He is regarded as a skillful central midfielder who's slight frame made him be overlooked in the MLS Draft.
If the name Schmid rings a bell, it should. Kyle Schmid is the son of Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. The 6-foot-2 UC-Irvine central defender impressed Red Bulls scouts when UC-Irvine faced St. John's in the NCAA Tournament.
While goalkeeper might be considered the last area of need for the Red Bulls, that still isn't stopping them from taking a look at 6-foot-5 Jersey product Chris Konopka. The former Providence College goalkeeper spent the past year with Irish club Bohemians.
There is one familiar name in the group to Red Bulls fans. Slavisa Ubiparipovic, brother of Red Bulls midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic, is also in camp hoping to land a contract.
What do you think of this group of rookie free agent trialists? Can you see any of them making the team? Are you praying the Red Bulls can trade Schmid to Seattle for the rights to Jeff Parke? Think Konopka can make the Red Bulls roster, which already had four goalkeepers?
Share your thoughts below.