Zeiko Lewis was the 17th overall draft pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft, joining an already-crowded field of young attacking players jostling for contracts and minutes with the New York Red Bulls. The forward is quite versatile, and has a fantastic left foot. The 21-year-old has qualities moving forward in the final third, and has the ability to contribute flair and urgency off the bench.
NEWS: @NewYorkRedBulls Select Zeiko Lewis in First Round of 2017 @MLS #SuperDraft https://t.co/JxZKp8keWl pic.twitter.com/Ia7o9sufUc— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) January 13, 2017
Speaking of flair, Lewis energized the SuperDraft by arriving at the podium for his post-draft thank-you speech carrying a substantial chip on his shoulder. Notable fan of shoulder-chips, Jesse Marsch, surely approved. The highlight of Lewis's first words to MLS was his conviction that being selected 17th out of a field of more than 200 players was a slight on his talent and ability.
Zeiko Lewis taking it personally that he didn't get selected until the 17th pick by #RBNY. "I'm just going to have to prove you guys wrong."— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 13, 2017
Jesse Marsch didn't appear at all perturbed by Lewis's spiky introduction to the league. When asked for his opinion on the draft pick, the gaffer first responded by saying, "he clearly has a personality." Nonetheless, he confirmed his confidence stating that Lewis "is a soccer package" with his various skills and characteristics, and Marsch added RBNY had been looking for a player that "was not afraid" to play or step up when needed. Lewis clearly needs little encouragement to step up and assert himself.
Perhaps this addition will be more than just another name to the NYRB II roster. Perhaps he will be a viable off-the-bench player to add to the Red Bulls' depth chart going forward. Ideally the "chip on the shoulder" attitude will get channeled to being focused on maturing and improving as a player to eventually become a starter rather than just a Leo Stolz disappointment.
"Lewis has been a star player for BC since he was a freshman. He started 17 games as a rookie and led the ACC with 11 assists, and led the Eagles in both assists and points. Lewis was named a captain as a sophomore, and continued to lead BC in assists despite having a less productive season than his first. Lewis started all 21 matches for BC as a junior. He again led the team in assists (8), and assisted on two game-winning goals in tournament play."
Lewis managed to stand out from the crowd at the SuperDraft with his words, now he'll need to achieve the same with his feet to get past a traffic jam of players at his position within the RBNY set-up.