Today, May 19th, New York Red Bulls II announced the signing of midfielder and former academy player, David Najem, to a USL contract.
Najem, 23, spent 2014 and 2015 with FC Eintracht Bamberg, a club in the fourth division of German football during David's stay there. Prior to moving to Germany, Najem played for the Columbia Lions for four season, two of which he served as a team captain for. At Columbia Najem scored five goals and added on five assists in 48 games played. He was an Ivy League Honorable mention as a freshman, as well as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. In the next three years he earned two All-Ivy League Second Team nominations, one All-Ivy First team nomination, and was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.
In addition to playing for Columbia, Najem played for the New York Red Bulls U16 and U18 teams while attending high school at Paramus Catholic, where he earned the NSCAA New Jersey High School Player of the Year in 2009. He then played for the NYRB U23 team for three summers during his time at Columbia.
David Najem is an especially interesting signing for NYRBII as upon leaving for Germany rumors emerged that the New York Red Bulls had promised Najem a homegrown contract while he was in college, only for it to not be on the table upon his graduation. This reportedly soured the relationship between the club and David Najem, as well as his brother Adam, another former academy player.
Speaking of Adam Najem, David's signing hints the younger Najem may be on his way to New York soon. The Akron midfielder, regularly called the best midfielder in college soccer, went abroad in the winter on trials with European clubs looking for a professional contract after turning down a deal from New York. The European excursion ended fruitlessly as Najem has returned to Akron and looks to be playing his senior season at Akron in the fall. Adam is currently playing in the PDL with the Michigan Bucks, but will return to New York to train with the club later in the summer. With David's return and fences apparently mended, a Najem duo between the first and second team could be gold for the Red Bulls.