New York Red Bulls hierarchy is taking a calculated risk with its first-round draft pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
In taking Leo Stolz of UCLA, they get the reigning Hermann Trophy Award winner as the best player in men’s college soccer, a player gifted beyond measure and capable of the sublime. He’s a plug-and-play draftee, someone who can work with Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty or whoever else is trolling the midfield for NYRB this Spring.
He also could be trolling the midfield in 2.Bundesliga in his home nation, which is where the risk comes in, and Stolz, 23, dropped in the draft as there were whispers he was only interested in playing in New York or L.A.
But NYRB coach Jesse Marsch isn’t worried about losing his first round pick.
“From the beginning… He didn’t quite understand our system, and he wanted to be able to control his destiny a little bit more,” Marsch told reporters on Thursday. “And at the same time he had interest in Germany… But yeah, no, he’s committed to being here, so we will see him in a New York Red Bulls jersey.”
“I expect him to be a contributor right away,” Marsch said of Stolz. “I think he’s the most MLS-ready player in this draft. It’s partly he’s a little older. He has some bigger experiences than a lot of the other kids coming out of college.”
He didn’t sign a Generation adidas deal after his junior year, and then again this season. But this kid can play and, if Marsch is right and he stays, both Stolz and NYRB may’ve gamed the system (one that will likely change sooner rather than later).