Sean Nealis has been an important part of the Red Bulls defense this season. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

The Red Bulls signed Long Island native and defender Sean Nealis to a new MLS contract, the club announced on Thursday.

Nealis has signed a three-year MLS contract through 2026 with an option for an additional year in 2027.

“We are pleased to sign Sean to a new contract with our club,” sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “He has had a very strong year and we are pleased to have him help us strengthen our backline for many years to come.”

Nealis, 25, who was drafted in 2019 in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft, has become a mainstay on the Red Bulls backline over the last two seasons. The Massapequa, N.Y. native has started and played 32 matches this season and has logged 2,773 minutes, which are career-highs. Nealis ranks second in aerial duels won this season in MLS with 129, while also ranking tied for fifth in duels won this year with 195.

“I am very happy to keep Sean at the club,” head coach Gerhard Struber said in a statement. “He has turned into a great leader for our team, and we are excited to see him continue to work hard and help our club accomplish its goals.”

Prior to 2022, Nealis combined for 36 starts in 43 MLS matches during the 2019, 2020 and 2021 season. He has recorded two goals and four assists in his MLS career. He also made 20 starts in the USL during the 2019 season, scoring three goals.