If you are not familiar with MetroFanatic.com's Red Bulls Media Day coverage, become so now. In the site's interview with Aaron Long - which contains a few more interesting nuggets; read it here - there is also a bit of important news: the 2016 USL Defender of the Year is on RBNY's MLS roster for 2017.
MetroFanatic: Aaron, are you officially signed to the first team?
Aaron Long: Yes, I am!
MF: Because they never announced it... upper management is not really on top of stuff.
AL: That's not my department, so... (laughs)
As noted, the club has yet to make a formal announcement. It is a busy time for RBNY at the moment: a new kit has been announced; there was Media Day; the team starts its season on February 22; rugby is coming back to Red Bull Arena. There's a lot going on. Stuff gets overlooked.
But if, as expected, Aaron Long starts against Vancouver Whitecaps in RBNY's first-ever CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match, don't imagine he is merely a reserve-teamer pressed into service so the team can protect the fitness of senior players. Long has started regularly alongside Aurelien Collin in the center of defense during preseason. And Jesse Marsch has said he has high hopes for the player this year.
At the time of writing, the New York Red Bulls official roster numbers 28 players. That includes Anatole Abang, who is currently without a club (as best we know) to play for this year and has not returned to RBNY since his loan to Hobro IK was terminated in January. So assume the RBNY official roster is actually 27 players - add Long and now it's 28.
Last year's roster limit was 28 players, but it is expected that MLS (and if you think RBNY can be slow to announce changes...) will eventually announce 2017 roster regulations that allow teams to have 30 players for the season - 31 if you include the season-long loan to USL option. That number will come with some caveats, but they are expected to relate to Homegrown player signings, and RBNY is one of the league's exemplary teams in that regard. The new roster regulations should provide incentive for other MLS teams to follow RBNY's example, not prevent the Red Bulls from adding to their squad.
All that to come. For now, we can be satisfied - thanks to MetroFanatic - that Aaron Long thinks he is on RBNY's first-team roster. And Aaron Long is surely a credible source for information about Aaron Long's employment status.