Out of the pack of players trying to impress Hans Backe and the rest of the New York Red Bulls coaching staff, four players did the trick. The long list of failed trialists includes goalkeepers: Matt Glaeser (26), Ray Burse (27), Phillip Tuttle (24); defenders: Tommy Williams (31), Willis Forko (28), John Tardy (21), Leobardo Alvarez (18), Ray Yeboah (17); midfielders: Quame Holder (23), Joseph, Niouky (25), Ryan Maduro (25), Danijel Kosovac (22), Semso Nikocevic (24); and forwards: Giorgi Chirgadze (21), and Aaron King (27).
Of this rather extensive pool of potential players, Red Bulls staff announced Tuesday that they had signed defender Tyler Ruthven, 23; forward Jose Angulo, 24; forward Jhonny Arteaga, 25; and midfielder Brandon Barklage, 25.
Ruthven most recently played centerback for the NASL team Atlanta Silverbacks. The team finished with the worst record in that league in 2011, but the staff deemed Ruthven to have enough upside for a low salary to deserve a contract.
Barklage was a D.C. United midfielder for three seasons before the club declined a contract option for 2012. There is just something that doesn’t smell right about picking up D.C.’s scraps, but it’s reassuring to know that he won’t ever see the field in MLS this season.
Jose Angulo bounced around for a few years before settling down with the Harrisburg City Islanders of USL-Pro for 2011. Angulo’s 9 goals in 26 outings last year and his performance in camp persuaded the Red Bulls to sign him.
Jhonny Arteaga lit up the USL-Pro last year with F.C. New York. The Colombian native led the league with 13 goals in 2011 and could prove to be an impact player for the Red Bulls reserve side.
Red Bulls General Manager Erik Soler was very upbeat about these signings. “We are excited to bring in these four players,” he said. “Jose and Jhonny are both young players who developed in the New York area and are exciting prospects for the future. Brandon has some quality experience in Major League Soccer already and Tyler is another young defender that we think can develop well over time. All four of them did well in preseason to earn a spot on our roster. We look forward to monitoring their development this season and beyond.”
I am not too excited about any of these players. I may be wrong later in the season, but I fully expect these players to never see the pitch in the league in 2012. At this point, I’m pretty sure the club is just trying to fill out the roster.