LIJSL Sends 11 to Red Bull Academy Teams Through RDS Program
January 12, 2015 | by Ken Ilchuk
The Red Bulls Regional Development School (RDS), hosted and completely funded by the Long Island Junior Soccer League, is a training program intended for the highest level boys and girls aged 8 to 14, and includes the very best talent on Long Island in those age groups. The program is exclusively for LIJSL registered players and features 18 weeks of training (six weeks of outdoor training in the fall and spring, six weeks of indoor training in the winter) on Long Island.
The program continues to provide a platform for talented LIJSL players to compete at the highest levels, and the quality of the 2014-2015 pool of players is stronger than it has ever been before. LIJSL RDS players account for over 25% of boys RDS showcase tournament teams, and over 40% of girls teams in the U9 through U13 age groups.
Beyond that, several Long Island players have excelled to even greater heights within the program. LIJSL players Jayden Reid, Jordan May, and Kejieh Watt of Elmont, and Vince Opra of Smithtown were selected to the Red Bulls Academy 2001 team, while Albertson’s Alex Bobocea and Anthony Bileddo, Levittown’s Connor Maurer, Justin Weiss, and Aidan Borra, and Elmont’s Amir Daley and Zane Brown made the Academy 2002 team, accounting for 1/3 of that team’s roster.
“This program was hands down, the best training program Connor’s been a part of,” said Susan Maurer of Levittown, whose son Connor made the 2002 Academy team. “He not only improved his skills, but it also helped him improve mentally and with his maturity as a player. The trainers were very professional and passionate. You could tell they were there because they wanted to players to get better. They were there for the kids.”
“It was a good program,” added Janice Reid of Cambria Heights, whose son Jayden plays for Elmont and qualified for the 2001 Academy team. “Jayden’s skills improved, and it gave him an opportunity to play with other highly skilled players, and it introduced him to the academy program. He’s very excited to get started.”
But while the parents have been impressed, the true mark of a strong program is how the kids themselves enjoy the experience, and these two boys have nothing but good things to say.
“It was very competitive, and I liked that,” Jayden said of the RDS program. “It made me better. I improved my skills, but it also helped me build up my confidence as a player. Coach Ross helped me so much.”
“The trainers were the best part,” said Connor. “They had good drills and they really pushed us to be better. It made me a better player.”
The LIJSL continues to work with the Red Bulls on ways to grow and improve the Regional Development School, and are excited to be able to continue to offer this high level training at no cost to our top players. We congratulate our LIJSL Red Bulls Academy players and RDS Showcase players, and look forward to seeing many more youngsters representing the LIJSL at the highest levels!