Tyler Adams will return to the Red Bulls in 2018. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
HARRISON, N.J. — While his Red Bulls teammates cleared out their lockers at Red Bull Arena Wednesday, Tyler Adams was nowhere to be seen.
Of course, he had a pretty damn good excuse.
He was with the U.S. national team, preparing for Nov. 14’s international friendly in Portugal.
The call-up was a culmination of a breakthrough year for the 18-year-old Wappingers Falls, N.Y. native.
And don’t worry, he isn’t about to make the jump to Europe, at least not yet. There still is a lot to learn, according to head coach Jesse Marsch.
“It will be challenging to analyze exactly now how to manage what are the next steps for him,” he said. “What an incredible challenge for him and for us, how fortunate we are to have him here to have him.
“On one level we fully understand that keeping him here is a good thing for him and for us and on another level I think we have to understand that we have to look at every opportunity that’s presented for both the club and for Tyler to think about what the future looks like.
“I think we can all agree that he’s not going to be here for his whole career and then it’ll just be a matter of trying to [get] together with Tyler and his family.”
Marsch indicated that the Red Bulls will talk to Adams’ family about his development “trying to figure out what are the next steps and what’s best with Tyler’s overall development.”
“If you talk to Tyler I think he’d say all the right things, but he’s an ambitious kid and he should be. It won’t be an easy offseason to figure out what the next steps are, but we’ll do it in a way that we think honors Tyler, his family and our club.”
Adams made great strides to get a call-up with the national side.
“It’s been a little bit of a crescendo,” Marsch said. “When I first came here, and Denis and I can refer back to this, but one of the first days we were on the job we were in preseason camp and we went down to Bradenton, Florida, to watch the U-17’s play and Tyler was the youngest player in that group, and right away we both lit up because we could see all of his qualities.”
Added sporting director Denis Hamlett: “He just plays the game brave and is such a competitor. I think those are two things that we saw when he was 16 in the U-17 camp. That stood out for me and just seeing how on the field he has such a strong belief in who he is so I think that those are two qualities that are very important.”
Adams played many matches as a right wingback, yet Marsch said the teenager’s best position was at central midfield.
“The way that it worked with our team this year, he was really effective out there,” he said. “I literally could envision him playing in any of the 10 spots. Maybe not goalkeeper. I do think, in the end, his best position will be middle of the field.”
It looks like it will be a busy postseason for Adams, who only graduated from high school in June. He also is taking classes through Southern New Hampshire University.
“So he’s continued to committing to educate himself and grow as a person as much as he has as a player,” Marsch said.
Whether Adams will get an opportunity to show how he has grown as a player in Portugal next week, it remains to be seen.
“I’m not sure if he’ll start,” Marsch said. “I hope that he will and when he gets on the field, I’m excited for his next step.”