Reporting for NJ Advance Media, Keith Sargeant sat down with newly-appointed Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Jim McElderry to find out a little more about what to expect of the program under its new leadership.
Prior to McElderry’s appointment, the news that Rutgers had interviewed New York Red Bulls scout Carlos Acquista raised the possibility that the Scarlet Knights were interested in a closer relationship with RBNY’s Academy and player development pipeline.
McElderry does not have such obvious ties to RBNY, though he did guide goalkeeper Ryan Meara through a college soccer career at Fordham that ultimately saw the player drafted by the Red Bulls.
In the course of an interview that addressed several elements of the new coach’s plans for Rutgers soccer, Sergeant asked McElderry a direct question about the RBNY Academy and got a straight answer:
There’s been talk that Rutgers needs to get better at recruiting players out of the Red Bulls Academy and other MLS feeder programs. Is that a part of your recruiting philosophy, to have a relationship with the Red Bulls?
There was more, of course. McElderry spoke in general and entirely common-sense terms about the need for college programs to build strong relationships with pro club academies in general, given the increasing prominence of those entities in recruiting and developing young soccer talent.
So no suggestion Rutgers is about to become RBNY University, but at least reasonable to expect there will be a more obvious and active interest in Red Bulls Academy prospects shown by the Scarlet Knights under McElderry’s leadership.