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New York Red Bulls 2016 College Cup Preview

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As the college soccer season winds down and the post season heats up, there are twelve New York Red Bull Academy graduates still in play. From Stanford, California up the coast to Portland all the way over across the country to Boston and back to rural Ohio, there are former academy starlets set to be in action in this year's NCAA tournament.

Players here are listed alphabetically by college. Overall, there are the twelve academy graduates in the College Cup; listed below are their season stats and first round game.

Akron

Adam Najem, Midfielder, Senior

20 games played, 20 games started, 5 goals, 5 assists, Captain

His brother David is also an academy graduate and is currently on NYRBII

vs. Villanova, Thursday, November 17th at 5 PM

Boston College

Callum Johnson, Midfielder, Freshman

18 games, 9 started, 3 goals, 4 assists

vs. Fordham, Thursday, November 17th at 6 PM

10. Charlotte

Harrison Steadman, Forward, Junior

7 games, 1 start, 3 goals

vs. the winner of Virginia Tech/East Tennessee State, Sunday November 20th

Portland

Malcolm Dixon, Midfielder/Forward, Sophomore

16 games played, 8 games started

vs. New Mexico, Thursday November 17th at 9 PM

5. Stanford

Jared Gilbey, Midfielder, Freshman

17 games played, 14 games started, 2 assists

Kyle Casey, Midfielder, Freshman

Hasn't played

vs. the winner of CSUN/Pacific, Sunday November 20th

Tulsa

Juan Sebastian Sanchez, Forward, Sophomore

16 games, 3 goals, 2 assists

vs. Creighton, Thursday November 17th at 8 PM

Villanova

Sean Teixeira, Defender/Midfielder, Freshman

19 games played, 19 games started, 1 assist

Sean Teixeira made 2 substitute appearances for NYRBII this year.

vs. Akron, Thursday November 17th at 5 PM

12. Virginia

Nate Odusote, Defender, Junior

2 games, both substitute appearances

Wesley Wade, Forward, Sophomore

18 games, 1 start, 5 goals

vs. the winner of Vermont/Rider, Sunday November 20th

2. Wake Forest

Kevin Politz, Defender, Junior

20 games, 20 starts, 1 assist

Steven Echevarria, Midfielder, Junior

20 games, 11 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist

vs. the winner of Radford/Coastal Carolina, Sunday November 20th

The New York Red Bulls representation in the NCAA tournament was significantly reduced by Georgetown's fall from grace. The Hoya's lost their whole back line, all-time leading scorer Brandon Allen, and his striking partner Alex Muyl to the pros this past winter. There are currently five Red Bulls players at Georgetown, including Arun Basuljevic and Mason Deeds. Additionally, Red Bulls academy grads and U.S. U20 teammates Andrew Lombard (Ohio State) and Marcello Borges (Michigan) did not make the tournament. Both defenders are certainly homegrown candidates in the near future.

Of the players in the tournament, Kevin Politz, Adam Najem, and Jared Gilbey most notable best prospects remaining.

Politz recovered from season-ending surgery last year to play with RBNY's U23 team this summer and has now played almost every minute of the season for number two Wake Forest. The centerback is a positionally sound, every steady presence on the backline, and could well be on NYRBII or the first team in a year or two.

Adam Najem is the rock star of college soccer. He is a flashy player but does not forget the fundamentals. Najem is widely regarded as the best midfielder in college soccer at the moment. He returned to Akron to captain the team for his senior year after rejecting a Red Bulls Homegrown contract and going on trials in Spain. Though unlikely to win the Hermann Trophy he was touted in preseason, Najem is still a sublime attacking midfielder and it would be a coup if the Red Bulls could bring him in under a Homegrown contract this winter.

Jared Gilbey is the surprise of the season. He was a solid though unheralded part of last year's U18 set up which featured NYRBII fullback Noah Powder, scoring machine Brian Saramago, and widely regarded centerback Mason Deeds. In college this fall, Gilbey has walked into the locker room of the nation's reigning national champions and secured a starting spot in the midfield by the middle of September. Though he will not light up the stats card, Gilbey's strong midfield play as only freshman is incredibly impressive when one considers he is playing on one of the premier programs in college soccer.