HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls announced Tuesday they had signed Academy defender and New Jersey native John Tolkin to an MLS Homegrown contract.
Tolkin became the 22nd Homegrown Player in franchise history and the 25th academy product to sign with the club.
“John is regarded as a top young talent not just in our academy, but in the U.S. youth national team pool as well,” sporting director Denis Hamlett said. “We are proud to have played a role in John’s development so far, and happy to share this day with him and his family as he begins his professional career.”
Tolkin, 17, has been a part of the Red Bulls Academy since 2015. He has made 79 appearances during the Developmental Academy regular season and has recorded 15 goals. While in the Red Bulls Academy, the Chatham, N.J. native not only received call-ups but has featured for the Under-17 U.S. men’s youth national team eight times.
“We’re thrilled for John, his family, and our club,” head coach Chris Armas said. “John stood out to us in preseason last year with his fearlessness, high soccer intelligence, and ability to play within our style. We saw that continue with NYRB II last season and we’re excited to continue working with him as he starts his professional career.”
This past season Tolkin played 13 times, starting in nine matches for Red Bull II. He recorded 807 minutes and three assists. Tolkin scored his first professional point in his game as NYRB II came back to win 4-3 on the road against Bethlehem Steel (now known as Philadelphia Union II, on July 10.
“I’m very excited to sign my first pro contract,” Tolkin said. “Every academy kid dreams of this, and I’m happy it’s here now. I’m ready to work hard and do everything for the club, I love the club and I can’t wait to get started.”