In common with every MLS club, the New York Red Bulls will hope that their 2018 MLS SuperDraft picks yield at least one special player who is ready to make the jump to the professional level after their collegiate career.
With their first pick of this year’s draft, the Red Bulls landed the latest prospect they will seek to polish into a successful pro. Brian White arrives at RBNY with impressive credentials for a player seeking to make a positive impression on the first team: he played his college soccer at Duke - alma mater of recently-moved-on fan-favorite Mike Grella and midfield-general-in-waiting Sean Davis (as well as ex-GM Ali Curtis); he put in two stints with RBNY’s U-23 team in PDL, and his most recent run with the Red Bulls amateur side saw him bag 17 goals in 14 appearances - and the PDL 2017 MVP and Golden Boot awards.
Brian White has been voted 2017 PDL MVP after scoring a league-high 17 goals in 14 games for the @RedBullsAcademy. #Path2Pro pic.twitter.com/KvGzg82Wdf— USL PDL (@USLPDL) August 4, 2017
The Flemington, NJ native will be heading over to the other side of the training ground in East Hanover: he’s a pro player now. Or he will be, assuming he does enough in preseason to earn a contract.
White started his youth career with PDA, spending nine years before heading to Duke. In his four year college career, he started 63 out of 73 games, scoring 23 goals and assisting 11 times.
In 2014 and 2015 he was on the honor roll of the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference). In 2016, he made the 2nd Team All-ACC as well as the All-Academic team that year. In 2017, he was United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-American, USC First Team all-South Region, as well as Second Team All-ACC.
But the most important thing that caught the eye of Sporting Director Denis Hamlett and head coach Jesse Marsch’s eye was White’s ability to score goals.
“It makes sense on all levels as we know Brian very well, he spent two summers with us and he fits the way we play - and that’s the key for us in terms of players who understand your system,” said Hamlett on Draft Day. “Work ethic is unbelievable and you can add the fact that he can score goals.”
The Red Bulls of course couldn’t use a Home Grown contract on him as he was never from their academy, but fortuitously a player who did as much as anyone could reasonably expect to impress RBNY in PDL apparently didn’t impress those in MLS holding the 15 picks that preceded Hamlett’s opportunity to land the 2017 U-23s’ star scorer.
What is Brian White’s reaction to staying with the Red Bulls selecting him and now being a professional player for the club? “I wasn’t aware that they were going to pick me today,” said White, “I have a lot of friends on the team and spending two summers here I feel comfortable being on the team and I know the style of play they want.”
Drafts don’t always work out the way a team hopes, but the Red Bulls surely can be content with a solid selection in the first round. White has a proven affinity for the RBNY system of play, and has earned his shot at a pro career in Harrison.