After being speculated in recent weeks, it was announced Tuesday morning that New York Red Bulls have signed 19-year-old Italian-American goalkeeper Luca Lewis.
Lewis has joined the club on a USL Championship contract to play with the Red Bulls II reserve team after spending the last two-and-a-half years playing within Italian Serie A side Torino’s youth academy. He made 14 appearances and posted seven shutouts with Torino’s Primavera A squad last season and helped lead the Torino U-18s to the prestigious Campionato Berretti youth competition title in 2019. He had previously played stateside with the U.S. youth national team’s now-defunct academy program in Bradenton, Florida.
“We are very excited to add Luca to the group,” Red Bulls II head coach John Wolyniec said. “He is joining us from a high-level environment, that experience combined with his youth and talent we believe sets him up to succeed with us.”
Lewis is now the second goalkeeper on the reserve roster along with 36th overall 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick Wallis Lapsley. Alex Bobocea – a 17-year-old academy goalkeeper prospect – has also made two appearances and one start this season.
Lewis was interviewed by Fox News in April about his frustrations with the handling of covid-19 in Italy. The pandemic and Lewis’ club commitments to Torino also prevented him from accepting several U.S. youth national team call-ups over the last year. Lewis reportedly returned to New York just ahead the onset of strict travel lockdowns.
A scouting report on Lewis from Everybody Soccer from August describes him as talented but having a “knack for dramatics” and over-complicating the collection of the ball. While the ability to instill confidence within the Baby Bull’s backline may still be missing from the team’s goalkeeper pool, Lewis’ pedigree should be enough to improve upon the mistakes Bobocea and Lapsley have made in net this year.
“He gives us some experience overseas while also being from the local community,” Wolyniec said. “We believe his strengths make him very suited to our style of play and we are very excited to have him with us.”
While it is unlikely Lewis will make his debut tomorrow night when the team takes on Atlanta United 2, Saturday’s fixture against the Philadelphia Union 2 could be the first time the young goalkeeper takes the field in New York’s red.