We didn't see a lot of Daniel Royer last season. He made seven appearances all told, after joining the team in the summer. But only injury prevented him from seeing more time on the field. He seemed to settle in to his new team very quickly, looking at home in the Red Bulls' system almost immediately.
At RBNY's 2017 Media Day, Royer credited the team with facilitating his swift transition to a new club, country and system: "Things went really well for me. When I came here, of course, I had to change some of my thoughts about soccer because it's a new philosophy and a new style. But I think it went really well. The team was amazing to me. They took me into their...," he paused for a moment.
"Arms?" I suggested. "Arms..." he said without conviction, then found what he had been looking for, "Into the group really fast. I felt welcome and I felt like a real part of the team, really fast. That helped me a lot on and, of course, outside the pitch."
Also helpful, no doubt, is the fact Royer is an unabashed fan of his new home: "I really like America. My teammates know that. They can see it, feel it - that I really enjoy being here."
And it doesn't hurt that he arrived at RBNY with a clear understanding of the style of play to which the team is committed. Once A Metro had the impression he had come to RBNY specifically for the style of play, that he had been willing to play for any club in the Red Bull Global Soccer system. Royer corrected the record: "Didn't say that."
But he was familiar with the tenets of RalfBall before he arrived, and clearly knew what to expect tactically when he signed for the New York Red Bulls.
I think the philosophy is quite the same. In all the Red Bull clubs, like I said when I came here - it's quite similar to Salzburg and to Leipzig. It's our soccer: it's a lot of pressing, it's a lot of running, it's 90 minutes full power. And that's what our focus was in preseason and even last year.
Of course, there are always some tiny differences between the cubs, between the coaches. But in general, it's quite the same philosophy all the teams follow.
It's one thing to know what the system entails and quite another thing to play it well. Royer admitted the demands RBNY makes of its players are not easy to meet, but he's a fan of the system and the sort of soccer it produces.
It's definitely the hardest way of playing soccer that I have experienced in my career. But it's really fun too. If it works, you have a lot of fun on the field and, yeah, I could see that in a couple of games last season already. And, of course you have to be in shape. You have to be fit, a lot of running, a lot of sprinting - and I think we have the right coach for that.