The New York Red Bulls have been linked to Leo Stolz, the Hermann Trophy winner as the top college player in the United States, was selected by the club in the first round of the 2015 SuperDraft with the 18th overall selection.
Stolz is an offensively skilled midfielder who had 20 goals and 22 assists in 63 caps at UCLA. He is good on the ball and can control possession through the middle of the field. The Red Bulls have a hole in their roster in the midfield for a playmaker, they had shifted Theirry Henry into that area of the field last year which yielded outstanding results for the club.
Of course, Henry retired at the conclusion of the 2014 season, and by no means can he be replaced, but Stolz is seen as a player with top tier talent and a high upside. The risk, however, is that Stolz is a native of Munich, Germany and had told several associates and people at UCLA that he did not want to play in MLS.
Stolz has been linked to many clubs in his home country in Germany and the general consensus behind his tumble down the draft board is that he is going to end up playing overseas. However, I find it difficult to believe that the Red Bulls front office, already under intense scrutiny for being highly inactive in improving the roster, to essentially waste their first round pick.
The logical rationale behind the choice would be, hopefully, that Sporting DIrector Ali Curtis and others in the front office for the Red Bulls have discussed this situation with Stolz and "sold" him on playing in MLS in the New York area. I know that many European players in the past have enjoyed playing in New York, so that fact was probably a large component of the pitch that the Red Bulls management made to Stolz.
In the end, since he is not signed with the MLS officially, it is a risk for the Red Bulls and could be a bad precedent for the league overall if they cannot convince a high profile player like Leo Stolz to stay and play here next season. It is a risky move by the new front office of the Red Bulls which could be an indication of further moves to come in the near future.
The Red Bulls fan base have been through a rough couple of weeks, I hope for the sake of the team and the fans that Leo Stolz decides that he does want to play in MLS with our club next season.