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NYRBII and Academy Roundup: Najem, Simpara, Diving, and more

Welcome to your favorite conglomeration of news that may mean big things for the New York Red Bulls in two to three years.

William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
M'Baye debuts

Cheikh M'Baye, 20, debuted for NYRBII this weekend, coming off the bench in the 58th minute to replace Aaron Long at centerback. In the 32 minutes he played, the Senegal youth international was physical on the ball and ventured forth into the attacking half quite a bit. Also making his NYRBII debut was academy player Kevin O'Toole.

Prior to showing up in the New York Red Bulls first team's preseason camp in January, M'baye was with Girondins de Bordeaux B team in France and Diambars FC in the Senegalese First Division.

Simpara Signs and debuts

Last Saturday, the New York Red Bulls II signed Malian midfielder, Zoumana Simpara, after he arrived on trial a few days prior. The 18 year old played in three games of last summers' U17 World Cup in which Mali ultimately finished second, starting twice.

Then, on Sunday, the young midfielder make his USL debut coming on in the 67th minute for Stefano Bonomo. Ultimately, the midfielder apparently didn't impress coach Wolyniec with his first performance, with Wolyniec saying after the game, "I don't think he impacted the game as much as I'd hoped but at the same time he was good and connected and I'd just like to see him be a little bit more dangerous but, you know, it's not an easy team to be dangerous against". However, the future's bright for Simpara, for as an 18 year old, in his first professional game, in a new country, there is really only one way to go and that's up.

Diaz in the USL TotW

Rafa Diaz was given a chance to impress this weekend when he was forced into action after Ryan Meara went down with a groin injury in the 12th minute. Diaz took that chance and grabbed it with both of his gloved hands. His superb efforts in goal in relief against Rochester earned him a USL Team of the Week nomination, accumulating 5 saves in the process.

USL TotW

NYRBII tops USL Power Rankings

After ranking second last week in the USL Power Rankings, NYRBII has moved up to capture the top spot. Currently sitting at second in the Eastern Conference (behind Louisville City who the team drubbed 2-0 in week two) and fourth in the USL, New York Red Bulls II remain undefeated in the league play and continue to look impressive in their play. New York's draw against last year's champions was enough to impress neutral observers to push the team into the top spot of league power rankings.

Adam Najem returns to Akron. Ethan Decker, Billy Stevens, and Evan Louro commit to summer teams

Two New York Red Bulls academy players won't be returning to the U23 team this summer. Louisville junior Ethan Decker will be joining the South Florida Surf in the PDL, having only played in three games for NYRBU23 last year, scoring one goal. In turn, Evan Louro, who served as the main goalie for the U23's, playing 9 games, will also not be returning. The Michigan shot-stopper will be staying in Michigan with Detriot City FC instead. Meanwhile, Louro's Michigan teammate and fellow academy product, defender Billy Stevens, will be joining him at Detriot City FC. This year's U23 team will look a lot, lot different.

In some possibly more positive news for the Red Bulls, Adam Najem is not going to Europe, at least for the moment that is. Najem was reportedly leaving Akron after his junior to pursue opportunities in Europe, however, this appears to have come to nothing. Then, on Saturday, Najem reappeared, standing in street clothes at a Zips spring game. In tweets that have since been deleted, local Akron sports reporters stated that Najem will be returning to the Zips for the 2017 season. The tweets' deletion leaves Najem's status still up in the air, but it appears he is leaning towards a return to the States.

II has a diving problem

New York Red Bulls II have a diving problem. Some players on the team like to go down easier than necessary and make a meal out of contact that doesn't deserve it. It happens in soccer; it isn't a huge problem for the team at the moment, and it certainly isn't as wildly untamed as some opposing fans would make it out to be, but it does exist. The team should address and fix this problem, better to simply be done with it. That is all.

A Partnership Renewed

The New York Red Bulls and the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) have extended their partnership in a new multiyear deal. The deal will see the Red Bulls remain as, " the exclusive and sole provider of regional NSCAA Coaching Academy courses throughout New York and New Jersey", allowing the New York Red Bulls to continue to mold the next generation of soccer talent, as both players and coaches.