Connor Lade is returning from an ACL injury he suffered last summer. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
HARRISON, N.J. — Red Bulls II Thursday released its 24-man roster for the start of the United Soccer League season.
The roster includes seven Red Bulls players from the United Soccer League side. The Red Bulls and Major League Soccer have entered into 2017 Standard USL Loan Agreements for Brandon Allen, Arun Basuljevic, Justin Bilyeu, Connor Lade, Dan Metzger and Hassan Ndam with Red Bulls II. Zeiko Lewis, a 2017 draft choice, joins NYRB II on a season-long loan.
The standard loan agreements contain a right of recall for MLS, which enables each player to play for NYRB II and Red Bulls throughout the duration of the loan period (through the end of 2017), subject to roster compliance guidelines.
As per the right of recall incorporated in the six game-by-game loan agreements, the Red Bulls retain the right to recall the player at any point during the MLS regular season, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.
The seven MLS players, in addition to 13 USL players and four Red Bulls academy products, round out the current 24-man NYRB II roster.
The four Red Bulls academy players include goalkeeper Sam Ilin, defender Kevin O’Toole, midfielder Ben Mines and forward Zach Ryan.
Allen, the 2016 USL rookie of the year and USL Cup final MVP, finished last season with a team-best 15 goals. The forward was also a finalist for USL MVP. Allen made one MLS appearance, his professional debut, as a substitute against Toronto FC May 28.
Basuljevic signed with the Red Bulls as a Homegrown Player Jan. 24. Yhe Red Bulls Scademy product played three seasons at Georgetown University. He earned All-Big East honors in each of his three seasons, including all-conference first team honors in 2015 and 2016, and was the Big East rookie of the year in 2014. Basuljevic ranked in the top three on the team in scoring all three seasons.
Bilyeu, the Red Bulls’ 2016 first-round MLS SuperDraft pick, played 15 USL games with NYRB II last season. The defender played in both legs of the Red Bulls’ CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series and started against Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday. Bilyeu made three MLS appearances in his rookie season and started three CONCACAF Champions League group stage games.
Lade, the Red Bulls’ longest tenured Homegrown Player, is returning from a season-ending ACL injury suffered on Aug. 7. The defender-midfielder made 18 appearances, including 15 starts, scoring one goal and one assist last season. Lade has played 73 games for the Red Bulls during his six-year MLS career.
Lewis, a native of Pembroke, Bermuda, was selected by the Red Bulls in the first round of the this year’s MLS SuperDraft. The midfielder has represented the Bermuda national team, including in World Cup qualifiers. Lewis played four years of college soccer at Boston College, totaling 73 appearances and 70 starts.
Metzger, who spent the last two seasons with Red Bulls II, has played 39 USL regular season games with the club. The Red Bulls Academy product signed an MLS contract Jan. 23 and has appeared for the first team twice in his career. In 2015, he played in New York’s International Champions Cup victory against Chelsea F.C., and scored in a 2016 friendly against Club America.
Ndam, a native of Foumban, Cameroon, signed with the Red Bulls via transfer from Rainbow FC Bamenda Jan. 31. The 18-year-old defender has been a regular with Cameroon at youth international levels, featuring in a starting role through Under-17 residency cycles. Ndam is a member of the Cameroon U-20 National Team pool.
Red Bulls’ home opener is against the Richmond Kickers at MSU Soccer Park at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
Goalkeepers (3): Rafael Diaz, Sam Ilin**, Evan Louro
Defenders (11): David Abidor, Justin Bilyeu*, Ethan Kutler, Connor Lade*, Andrew Lombard, David Najem, Hassan Ndam*, Kevin O’Toole**, Jordan Scarlett, Tim Schmoll, Andrew Tinari
Midfielders (6): Arun Basuljevic*, Vincent Bezecourt, Zeiko Lewis*, Dan Metzger*, Ben Mines**, Florian Valot
Forwards (4): Brandon Allen*, Stefano Bonomo, Junior Flemmings, Zach Ryan**
* MLS player on loan
** Academy player on amateur agreement