New York Red Bulls comms man Eric Giacometti brings news of trialists:
Two new trialists in camp for #RBNY, both from RB Brasil: Forward João Gabriel and defender Vitor Hugo Perusses.— Eric Giacometti (@Eric_Giacometti) October 19, 2016
Having signed a couple of senior players with RalfBall tendencies earlier this season - RB Global Soccer nomad Omer Damari and Austrian Daniel Royer (Kristian Dyer reported for MSG Networks that Royer had been keen to play somewhere in RB's global soccer system) - it would seem RBNY is also fishing in the shallow end of Red Bull Soccer's player pool, hoping to pick up a prospect or two.
Over on RBNY Twitter, @JuanMapu has been leading the investigation into the new faces in RBNY training.
Vitor Hugo is a right back. 20 years old. Part of RBB first team. #RBNY— Woo! OK! (@JuanMapu) October 19, 2016
Joao Gabriel was loaned to RBB from Cruzeiro, a big club from Belo Horizonte, in 2015. 20 years old. Forward.— Woo! OK! (@JuanMapu) October 19, 2016
Some of 2015 João Gabriel while in Cruzeiro U-20. Dude is a poacher. Good headers. https://t.co/2Nj8M4aFnD— Woo! OK! (@JuanMapu) October 19, 2016
The Brazilian 20-year-olds appear to be on a similar track to that of Anderson Gabriel Cajano, the RB Brasil prospect who showed up in RBNY's 2015 pre-season after a training stint with the team the preceding September.
RB Brasil is the most enigmatic member of the Red Bull soccer family. Papa has not tooled up the team to force itself to the top of the Brazilian soccer tree. It is a lower-league side that cycles through players at a remarkable rate. Soccerway.com's list of the club's transfers is immense. Here's just the players identified as incoming since the beginning of 2016:
RB Brasil is sometimes characterized as Red Bull Global Soccer's farm team: it's a factory farm. That is no slight on the club, just a description of its methods. It scoops up and distributes a lot of players.
It is part of an established Red Bull talent pipeline, of course. That pipeline has historically bypassed New York, mostly feeding players through Liefering (Salzburg's reserve team) to Salzburg to Leipzig. That was basically the pathway followed by current Leipzig player Bernardo. Prior to Leipzig's arrival in Bundesliga, Papa Red Bull seemed to be falling into the habit of losing his top Brazilian prospects to bigger clubs: Andre Ramalho followed his Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt to Bayer Leverkusen; Felipe Pires jumped from Salzburg to Hoffenheim.
Given the sheer volume of players RB Brasil cycles through, it is a surprise that not one has landed yet at RBNY in any significant capacity. Papa has had a Brazilian club in his family since 2007, but RBNY has yet to sign a player from the team (conversely, RB Brasil seems to be set up as a strictly Brazilian concern; it isn't shopping for players from other RB clubs, it is selling to them).
Perhaps, in the past, the New York team simply wasn't set up to handle what RB Brasil has to offer. It is now. Red Bull Soccer's clubs share a common playing style, and RBNY has a professional reserve team (NYRB II) where it can assure prospects they will get the time and visibility they need to develop.
Back in February 2015, when Cajano landed for his preseason trial, Thiago Scuro (sporting director of RB Brasil at the time, now at Cruzeiro) said he expected there would be more players moving from Brazil to RBNY. It has taken a while, but he was not wrong. Joao Gabriel and Vitor Hugo are the latest test to see whether the RalfBalls of Brasil and New York can find common ground.
When Cajano had his trial, RBNY was just beginning its transition to fuller integration with Red Bull Soccer's global system. Now the club is two seasons into the process, the latest Brazilian arrivals will find a team better able to evaluate and manage their talent, and perhaps more actively interested in signing players from within the RB soccer family.