The future looks bright for Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
FrontRowSoccer.com continues its countdown of the area’s top 10 stories of 2017.
When there’s a promising male teenager, it seems half of U.S. soccer goes gaga. It seems the player becomes the flavor of the week.
Adams, however, might become a flavor of the season or beyond.
He enjoyed a whirlwind year for club and country. He became a vital part of the Red Bulls, performed at the Under-20 World Cup and was capped by the full national team.
Adams also was named a finalist for U.S. Soccer’s young male player of the year and was named to Crain’s New York 20 under 20.
So, the future looks bright for the 18-year-old midfielder. There is talk of the Wappingers Fall, N.Y. native of playing in Europe. It will come down to timing and the right time and the right offer.
“It will be challenging to analyze exactly now how to manage what are the next steps for him,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said in November. “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.”
Adams played 24 games around international duty, with 22 starts. He scored his first two MLS goals and added four assists in the regular season and logged every playoff minute and added an assist in the 4-0 win over Chicago Fire in the knockout round.
Whether it was in the midfield or on the backline, Adams demonstrated how much ground he could cover, recovering well on many occasions when he either made a mistake or pushed forward just a little bit too much.
“Tyler’s physical ability to cover ground and mental strength are really amazing for a young player,” U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos said. “He’s one of a kind and he’s certainly a very aggressive young player.”
“What has been surprising from my end is that he has stepped into a team, into the middle of the field to play central midfield role with the Red Bulls. I probably know the Red Bulls better than other teams in the league and I’ve watched them the most. He has done a tremendous job just physically being able to play for a team that pressures high, that covers ground, that likes to have the ball, that likes to counter quickly. He’s fit right into their system and that’s impressive on the physical side for a young player.”
Adams made his full international in the U.S.’s 1-1 draw with Portugal Nov. 14. Acting head coach Dave Sarachan singled out three players — midfielder Weston McKennie, who tallied the lone U.S. goal, former Red Bulls center back Matt Miazga and Adams.
“I thought all three were very good tonight, I really did,” Sarachan said. “I thought as a starting point they played with a lot of confidence. There was no fear. The moments that came for each player that were difficult moments I thought they handled well.
“Tyler, his engine is remarkable, and his energy was great throughout. And Matt was very solid in the back. All three guys over the course of 90 minutes had really a solid performance.”
It was easy to forget that Adams only graduated from high school this past June. He skipped the ceremonies at Roy C. Ketcham High School because of the Hudson River Derby between the Red Bulls and New York City FC in June.
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.”
Friday: Story No. 8