Connor Lade: “I got to live out my dream by playing with my hometown team and now the dream continues as I transition into the front office.” (Photo courtesy of the Red Bulls)
HARRISON, N.J. – Connor Lade, who retired from the Red Bulls last season, will remain with the club as the team’s senior manager of alumni and player relations, the team announced on Saturday.
Lade, a Morristown, N.J. native and eight-year MLS veteran, will join the front office in a newly created role.
His duties will include outreach to fellow club alumni, community outreach, media and broadcast opportunities, public appearances and a variety of other responsibilities.
Alongside his new position, the club will have a ceremony to honor Lade at halftime of the season opener against FC Cincinnati at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. The club will have a video highlighting his time as a player, present honorary gifts and conclude with a question and answer session on field with former Olympian and current Colombian national team member Melissa Ortiz.
“Connor embodies the core values of our organization, and is a great ambassador for our club,” Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre said. “We’re thrilled to have him join the front office in this new role and could not think of a better individual to lead our efforts towards deepening our connection to our alumni.”
Following a four-year stint at St. John’s University, Lade was signed as the Red Bulls’ fifth Homegrown Player on Dec. 5, 2011. He made an immediate impact in 2012 during his rookie season, starting 22 of his 26 games played and recording three assists. He helped anchor a backline to eight clean sheets. Lade earned his first call-up to the U.S. men’s national team on Jan. 6, 2013, for training camp in Carson, Calif. He was named to the squad’s 23-man roster for the Jan. 29 friendly against Canada.
“I got to live out my dream by playing with my hometown team and now the dream continues as I transition into the front office,” Lade said. “I couldn’t be more excited to help the club that I love so much and am honored that they have given me this opportunity. I will bring the same work ethic and enthusiasm from the field into my new role.”
Lade amassed 116 starts and 153 games played, which included 10,456 minutes played, across all competitions over eight seasons as a Red Bull. He recorded five goals and nine assists, including his first career MLS goal against Orlando City SC on July 13, 2016. Lade is the club’s all-time leader in homegrown appearances.
He also made his presence known across the community. Lade participated in the Red Bulls “11 Days of Service” initiative, which included helping out at the Morristown Soup Kitchen and lending a hand with Habitat for Humanity, an event that helps build homes and communities. He also made hospital visits at Hackensack University Medical Center and Hospital for Special Service and attended Camp Shriver at Special Olympics New Jersey. Lade made time to frequently visit local Red Bulls soccer camps and appeared for mini-pitch openings around the local area.