I didn’t know what exactly to do with today’s post. As MLS’ season is pretty much over, the final set for Saturday and everyone is settling in to wait for First Kick 2013. But soccer never rests! So I had to pick someone. And who better than an MLS Homegrown player who’s not resting either? Ladies and gents, meet New York Red Bulls midfielder/defender Connor Lade.
Name: Conor Lade
Club: New York Red Bulls
Birthplace: Morristown, N.J.
Connor has a great past leading up to his signing with his hometown team, NYRB. I mean, how many players can say they’ve been a season ticket holder of a team, even been a ball boy for said team, then get signed to play for them? Not very many. But that’s what happened to Connor.
After high school, Connor attended St. John’s University for four years and was a starter all four years on the university’s soccer team, the Red Storm. In 2011, they won the Big East tournament title. Now, during this time, Connor was also putting in work at the New York Red Bulls academy, which he joined in December 2007. He played games on the Red Bulls’ National Premier Soccer League team as well. So, suffice to say, Connor worked his butt off to become good enough to sign.
And in 2011, the hard work paid off. New York announced they would sign him as a Homegrown Player, and he made his first debut on the team in April of this year. He notched his first goal in the Red Bulls kit just a month later.
So, I’ve said this before (actually, I said it when I did my last GTKY over a Red Bulls player), I’m not a Red Bulls fan. So I can’t pretend to know too much about Connor past his profile info. However, I did pay attention during the playoffs, when New York took on D.C. United. And it’s not hard to miss Connor. Even if he is short (sorry, Connor. It’s not a bad thing!).
The kid is speedy and fierce. Up against Chris Pontius, who definitely had some height advantage (I know, I brought it up again. Sorry!), he held his own very well. Might have lost his temper a few times, but he’s young and the more experience he gets, the more control he’ll have. The point is he’s oozing with potential (that makes up for bringing up the height thing, doesn’t it?). He’s a shinning example of the good that can come from MLS’ homegrown players and how the league should push teams to look to their academies and develop players like Connor. Connor took every advantage he could from the NYRB academy and not only is it paying him back, it’s paying the club back as well. It was recently announced the club was extending his contract.
And Connor apparently isn’t done working either, as I said earlier. A lot of MLS players are headed over seas for winter transfers and Connor’s slapped his name on that list. The New York Post is reporting that from Dec. 13 through Dec. 23, Connor will be training for Spanish side Sevilla. See, kids; work your butt off and keep pushing your dream and you’ll be playing for your favorite MLS team and training with a European club in the off season too!
So now that you know a little bit more about Connor, be looking for the No. 16 Red Bull next season. Because I’m sure this is just the start of great things for Connor Lade.