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John Wolyniec steps down as Red Bulls II manager

Staten Island native and former striker had managed reserves for seven seasons as part of long coaching career at club

North Carolina FC v New York Red Bulls II
John Wolyniec (center) is out after a long career in the Red Bulls development program.
Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

New York Red Bulls II announced that head coach John Woyniec was stepping down from his role with the team. The former Red Bulls forward has been at the helm of the reserve side since its official founding in 2015 and had held coaching roles within the organization since his retirement from playing in 2010. He leaves with a USL record of 88 wins, 43 ties, and 75 defeats in the regular season, alongside a 9-4 record in the playoffs including the 2016 league championship.

“I want to say thank you to the fans and club for all their support throughout the years, as a player and coach,” Wolyniec said in the announcement. “My goal was to always put this club in the best position, most importantly by creating an environment that fostered relationships with our staff and especially with our young players where we could all grow professionally and achieve the success we all chased. Now, I have a chance for myself to grow professionally and find that next opportunity that will help my coaching career.”

Prior to joining RBNY II, Wolyniec coached at multiple levels of the academy program for three years following his retirement. In 2013, he accepted the job as head coach and player development coordinator with the reserve team that was then playing in the MLS Reserve League.

His role within the academy system followed a decade plus long playing career that included two USL A-League championships and a U.S. Open Cup title with the Chicago Fire in 2000. His three tenures with New York (two with the MetroStars and one with the Red Bulls) saw Wolyniec become a major pillar in the team’s history and a fan favorite.

After being announced as NYRB II’s inaugural head coach on March 2, 2015, Wolyniec coached the reserve team into one of the league’s most consistently competitive units of any kind. The crowning achievement was the 2016 seasons in which New York won the then-third division United Soccer League regular season and USL Championship, becoming the first reserve side to accomplish either feat. For his work, Wolyniec earned 2016 USL Coach of the Year honors. In addition to the team’s development of academy talents such as Tyler Adams and Sean Davis, cast-off pros such as Aaron Long were molded into first division talent during the club’s early phase under Wolyniec.

The announcement of Wolyniec’s departure comes as the Red Bulls reserve team undergoes a transition, both internally and externally. The team failed to qualify for the USL Championship playoffs for a second consecutive season and finished with the fifth worst record in the league (7-7-18, 28 points). With one of the youngest rosters in team history, averaging an age of 20.2, New York’s vision with II appears to be more focused on development rather than on-field results. This also comes as new academy director Sean McCafferty has been seen being more involved with the team this past year.

New York Red Bulls II is set to leave the USL Championship following the conclusion of the 2022 season. The team, along with three other reserve sides who will play out 2022, have been announced to join the newly created third division league MLS Next Pro. With Wolyniec exiting as the club heads into a new era, it is unclear what profile head of sport Kevin Thelwell will look for in a successor. But an era definitely came to an end for the Red Bulls on Friday.