Saint Louis FC has announced the signing of Konrad Plewa. The former New York Red Bulls II team player was out of contract after two seasons with RBNY's reserves. He turns 25 in February, so perhaps had reached the upper age limit for NYRB II, which operates a fairly strict "move up or move on" policy with regard to its roster management.
STLFC is getting a II team fan favorite. Plewa is a Red Bulls Academy product and a Seton Hall University alum, and was a versatile presence on NYRB II for two years. He suffered a stroke in the summer of 2016 that threatened his career, but recovered to contribute to the II team's USL Cup winning run.
Plewa is a defensive player, but he can do that defending as a center back, holding midfielder, or even full back. And when he does get forward, he knows how to shoot if the opportunity is there.
And NYRB II fans will see Plewa again. Saint Louis FC has been moved to the Eastern Conference for 2017 as part of USL's latest expansion re-alignment.
At the end of the 2016 season, NYRB II allowed seven players to exit the team, retaining six under contract (the II team roster is typically relatively small as the squad is bolstered by Academy players and the less professionally experienced end of RBNY's MLS roster). Of the seven released at the end of the season, Plewa is the third to have signed with another team in USL: Zach Carroll has joined Orlando City B; Devon Williams is now with Louisville City. Rafael Diaz and Dan Metzger have signed MLS contracts with RBNY. Zoumana Simpara does not seem likely to return to the Red Bulls, and is reportedly considering exploring options in Europe. Only Stefano Bonomo is currently unaccounted for.
Sad as it is to see Plewa leave NYRB II, the team's purpose is to advance players to RBNY first team contracts - or to pro careers with other teams. It is encouraging that almost all of the players released by NYRB II at the end of 2016 will be continuing their careers in pro soccer in 2017, albeit not necessarily with the Red Bulls in USL.