St. John's defender and Morristown, N.J. native Connor Lade was the fifth product of the Red Bulls Academy to sign with the team yesterday. He will have the Homegrown Player designation.
Lade, who played centerback the last two seasons with the Red Storm, will more than likely move back to the fullback role he played his freshman and sophomore year if his size (5'5", 140 lbs according to St. John's) and the video the Red Bulls put out are any indication.
It remains to be seen if Lade will go the way of Juan Agudelo and actually get minutes or Matt Kassel and Sacir Hot, who were relegated to the sidelines for 2011, or even Giorgi Chirgadze, who's trying to make his way back onto the Bulls, but Lade certainly has a pedigree coming out of college. He was a two time All-Big East selection and was the Most Outstanding Defensive Player at this year's Big East tournament. He played in all but one of the Red Storm's games during his career and lead the team in minutes in 2010 and 2011. For those interested, St. John's scored 32 goals scored and 21 against this past season and according to the Post helped the team to a record scoreless streak of 647 minutes.
Lade also earned a call-up to U.S. U-20 camp.
If he can convince Backe and the rest of the coaches his size isn't a problem - and it'll be an uphill battle as physicality and size have proven valuable in MLS - his signing might be worth it, though 2012 minutes might be out of the question. If not he can look forward to a not-so-lucrative reserves career.