UPDATE: Ives Galarcep is reporting that the deal is done. "The move has angered several MLS teams that were high on Stolz leading into the draft but were scared away by the uncertainty of his future."
It appears that the Red Bulls have pulled off a major coup by drafting and signing one of the best available players. It was announced Friday during the Town Hall by Sporting Director Ali Curtis that UCLA midfielder and Hermann Trophy award winner Leo Stolz is expected to sign with the team within the next 24-48 hours.
According to Top Drawer Soccer, "he is currently in Europe attempting to latch on with a team there." However, Marsch and Curtis remain confident that he will sign.
Stolz, a midfielder, is capable of playing as both an attacking and a box-to-box midfielder. His future with the league was uncertain because he turned down an invite to the combine and walked away from negotiations with MLS. The Red Bulls' New York metropolitan area location was one of the key factors in his desire to join the club. In addition, one of his former club coaches is with RB Leipzig.
How good is Stolz? According to Will Parchman of Top Drawer Soccer, "Two months ago I'd have told you Stolz was a deadlock No. 1 overall pick, but I think some clubs are wary about whether the German will actually commit to the league long term."
If Jesse Marsch and Ali Curtis have convinced him to sign, then they have pulled off a great move. However, when considering his long term prospects in New York and MLS, it's important to note that he mentioned the club's connection with Red Bull Salzburg. Is he considering using the club as a stepping stone to Europe? Possibly, but a player of his caliber probably wouldn't need one.
Stolz joins winger Sal Zizzo and Homegrown signing Sean Davis as the team's off-season acquisitions.