The highlight of the 2017 SuperDraft was Zeiko Lewis' speech to the assembled technical staffs of MLS, telling almost every team but the one that drafted him - the New York Red Bulls - he'd give them cause to regret overlooking his talents.
The confident Bermudian international will have to wait to prove that point: RBNY has loaned him to its reserve team, New York Red Bulls II for the duration of the 2017 season.
The Red Bulls have made no official announcement regarding Lewis since he was signed, but they didn't have to say that a player drafted with a contract from MLS already in his hand was on their roster. They ought to announce he has been loaned to another team, but if that paperwork isn't ready then there is nothing yet to announce.
But MLS has gone ahead and published roster details for all its teams, and Zeiko Lewis is listed on RBNY's roster. Listed as "Unavailable" and "Loaned to USL".
Lewis preseasoned with RBNY, sticking with NYRB II after the first team peeled away for CONCACAF Champions League. And he is still playing preseason games with NYRB II.
The fact he is listed as "unavailable" on the official MLS roster report, and is not even nominally occupying one of the 30 RBNY roster spots indicates he has been chosen by the team for the unofficial 31st roster spot: the season-long loan of one player to a USL affiliate.
The loan brings "roster and budget relief" for RBNY: Lewis' MLS salary and roster spot are vacated and the club can use those resources on another player. Hence, Lewis is "unavailable" to the Red Bulls first team because the club has cleared him off its MLS roster entirely as part of the loan.
Lewis always seemed likely to spend most of his time in USL this season, but the no-comeback loan would appear to have been necessitated by the fact he is also an international player.
RBNY is close to maxing out its available roster places for foreign players. Lewis isn't the only MLS-contracted foreign player likely to spend a lot of time with the reserves this season, but he's the least likely to be needed by the first team. Hassan Ndam is only 18 and fresh out of high school, but he's also a center back and RBNY needs to have depth at that position - especially now Gideon Baah is out for the season. Michael Murillo is the second-choice right back on the MLS roster until Connor Lade returns to fitness. Neither Murillo or Ndam could be sent to NYRB II for the full season at the moment, and the decision to full-season loan Lewis to USL was presumably taken as part of the need to make rosters compliant with MLS regulations by March 1.
Lewis is an attacking player, and RBNY has plenty of depth up front with an additional (older, more experienced) forward reported to be on the way. He is the man who had to make way on the MLS roster for the team to continue to build itself for the trophies it wants to win in 2017.
So if fans want to see the highlight of the 2017 SuperDraft in action on the field: head to Montclair State University to watch NYRB II. The team's USL home-opener is on April 1 against Richmond Kickers. Season ticket packages are on sale now.