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Ryan Meara’s old head coach takes charge at Rutgers

New Rutgers men’s soccer head coach Jim McElderry coached Meara at Fordham.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The vacant Rutgers men’s soccer head coach position has been filled by Jim McElderry.

McElderry moves to Rutgers from Fordham, where he helmed the men’s soccer program for 16 seasons.

His achievements at Fordham include recruiting goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in 2012.

So the Rutgers men’s soccer program has a connection to RBNY, though not the connection perhaps anticipated when it was reported that Red Bulls scout Carlos Acquista had interviewed for the men’s soccer head coach position.

Local college soccer has become an increasingly important talent pool for the Red Bulls in recent year. The team routinely stacks its U-23 team with prospects from nearby colleges, and its annual College Combine is another mechanism for getting a closer look at the unheralded talent on its doorstep.

The likes of Vincent Bezecourt (St. Francis College, Brooklyn) and Florian Valot (Rider University) are evidence that the Red Bulls can and will develop first-teamers from New York and New Jersey college programs. And the RBNY Academy produces a significant number of college-bound prospects every year.

With current Red Bull Ryan Meara among his better-known former players, perhaps McElderry will lead Rutgers men’s soccer in a more RBNY-friendly direction than has appeared to be the case in recent years.