Ryan Meara is considered the hier apparent to Luis Robles in goal. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls announced Friday announced they signed goalkeeper Ryan Meara, forward Brian White and defender Amro Tarek to new Major League Soccer contracts.
“We are pleased to reach agreements with Ryan, Brian and Amro,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said. “As we look to improve our team with new additions, it is also important to make sure we solidify our existing roster and build out our core. We know the value of all three players and we expect all three to be contributors for us in 2020 and beyond.”
Meara, 29, the club’s longest-tenured player, has the inside track of taking over for the Luis Robles in the net. The 2012 second-round pick made an immediate impact as a rookie. The New York native earned the No. 1 role in preseason and started 18 games. He posted 9-5-4 record and 1.50 goals-against-average, while setting the shutout record for rookie goalkeepers by tallying 321 shutout minutes.
“I couldn’t be happier to extend my stay with the Red Bulls,” Meara said. “This is the club that drafted me in 2012 and I’ve loved every second of my time here. Between the employees of the club, fans, staff and teammates I really feel like the Red Bulls are a second family to me. We have high expectations for the 2020 season and I can’t wait to get started.”
Added head coach Chris Armas: “Ryan is the type of player you love to coach. Ryan is a leader, winner, and has earned the respect of the locker room. We look forward to working with him and seeing him take the next step in his career.”
Meara underwent season-ending hip surgery on August 23 during his rookie season where Luis Robles took over the starting role for the next seven seasons. As the primary backup over the next six seasons, he went 2-1-1 in regular season play when called on for a spot start. Meara most notably helped the Red Bulls to the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, recordinging two shutouts in five matches, including a career-best seven-save performance with a penalty-kick save in a shootout against Philadelphia in the Round of 16.
White, a Flemington, N.J, native, finished 2019 as New York’s second-highest goal scorer and MLS’ sixth-highest American scorer.
A 2018 MLS SuperDraft first-round selection, has had two strong professional seasons with the Red Bulls organization. The Duke graduate’s rookie season saw eight goals and five assists in 23 USL Championship matches, which included a performance never seen before in either USL Championship or MLS with a goal, an assist and save in a single match against Richmond Kickers on July 13, 2018. White also added his first career MLS goal against Houston on August 29.
Following Bradley Wright-Phillips’ injury early in 2019, White filled in well as the team’s No. 9 with nine goals and two assists in 1,345 minutes. He opened up his 2019 scoring ledger as a substitute against Sporting Kansas City for BWP, which he scored the equalizer in the 75th minute. White then scored eight goals in a 15-match span as a starter.
Since his freshman year at Duke University, White has recorded 61 goals in 143 matches. He tallied 23 goals in 73 matches at Duke, 17 goals in 14 matches with the Red Bulls Under-23 squad, 11 goals in 26 matches with Red Bull II and 10 goals in 24 matches with the Red Bulls.
“I’m very happy to have signed a new contract with the club,” White said. “It means a lot to me that Denis and the coaching staff are willing to put their trust in me and there’s no other team I would rather play for. I love representing my home state and I’m excited to get back to work to win MLS Cup for the club.”
Added Armas: “Brian proved last year that he has what it takes to be a goal scorer at this level. Brian is an intelligent striker, works extremely hard, and has proven he can score goals. He will continue to grow and we are fortunate to continue the journey with him.”
Tarek, acquired via trade with Orlando City SC last offseason, made 20 appearances for New York and was named the team’s newcomer of the year.
“I love this city, the fans and everyone in this organization,” he said. “I will continue to work hard and give everything I have for this club.”
Tarek showed well in his first season at New York, helping New York to five clean sheets as a starter. The Red Bulls were 10-6-3 in MLS play when Tarek started a match. The Egyptian international also chipped in one goal and one assist.
Prior to MLS, Tarek featured with Wadi Degla during the 2017-18 season, amassing 10 starts and 21 appearances. He made his senior team debut in the Egyptian Premier League at 22 years old for El Gouna FC on January 9, 2014. Overall, Tarek made 83 combined appearances for three different Egyptian Premier League teams (Wadi Degla, El Gouna, Enppi) and accrued 7,033 minutes played.
“Amro was an important player for us last year,” Armas said. “Amro is a quality player, incredible person, and has fully committed himself to us. As a staff we’re pleased to have him in our defensive group and know that he is reliable in every way.”