Nine Red Bulls Academy players will be joining Red Bulls II as registered academy players for the 2022 USL Championship season, the club announced Friday.

The group is headlined by three returning players. Defender JC Cortez earned a nomination to the USL Championship team of the week last season to go along with 16 appearances, nine starts and 852 minutes. Midfielder Sam Williams appeared in 18 matches last season, started six matches, and logged 737 minutes. Forward Nicholas Rabiu accumulated 56 minutes over eight matches.

“We are excited to build off of the success of the 2021 season as it pertains to the Academy players accumulating significant minutes at the USL Championship level,” Red Bulls Academy Director Sean McCafferty said in a statement. “As an organization we are committed to continuing to provide opportunities for our top prospects with the main aim of accelerating their development and preparing them for the professional level.”

The relationship between New York Red Bulls II and Red Bulls Academy reached new levels last season, as 11 players made USL Championship appearances. The group combined for 127 matches, 5,681 minutes, seven goals, and three assists.

The 5,681 minutes set a record for a single season, surpassing the 2,709 minutes in 2020 (nine players) and 1,112 minutes in 2019 (six players).

Here is the full list of Red Bulls Academy players that reached USL Academy Agreements for this season:

JC Cortez (Defender)
Sam Williams (Midfielder)
Nicholas Rabiu (Forward)
Ezra Widman (Midfielder)
Illia Tyrkus (Forward)
Paul Smajlaj (Defender)
Arian Recinos (Midfielder)
Nathan Worth (Midfielder)
Patrick Vanluvanee (Goalkeeper)