Red Bulls Sign Ryan Maduro

This morning, March 19, the Red Bulls issued the following press release:

The New York Red Bulls announced today that it has signed midfielder Ryan Maduro. Per league and club rules, the terms of each deal were not disclosed.

“Ryan earned his spot on the roster after a solid showing in preseason,” said Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “He is a young midfielder from the northeast who will provide us depth and can develop within our squad.”

Maduro had training stints with English sides, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool, as well as Portugal’s Belenenses in the past year. Before turning professional, Maduro enjoyed four excellent seasons on the collegiate level playing for Providence College from 2004-08. During his college career, Maduro played in 60 games, scoring 12 goals and 16 assists. As a junior, Maduro was named a First Team All American and a First Team All- Big East selection. Since finishing his college career, Maduro played for USL Premier Development League sides Rhode Island Stingrays in 2009 and Forest City London in 2010. Last year, Maduro, 25, appeared for the Red Bulls Reserve League team twice.

Since I have taken up the position as eternal skeptic of New York’s pool of trialists, I’m not too keen on this signing.  Maduro takes up one of 4 of the open Red Bulls’ roster spots, given the facts that Rodgers has not yet signed for 2012 and the team is planning on collecting $70,000 allocation money for spots 29 and 30.

5’10” Maduro was a college standout and played PDL for two years.  That’s pretty average for American professional hopefuls.  Maduro went undrafted out of college before signing for the Rhode Island Stingrays in May 2009 and securing a trial with C.D. Santa Clara of the Portuguese second division.  He spent the next two years training with other clubs in Europe’s lower divisions but never impressed enough to earn a contract.  One news story out of Portugal referred to Maduro as a Portuguese-American, so he might have been able to obtain a European passport through his parents, making the costs and difficulties of signing him much less.

In 2011, 25 year old Maduro made two appearances for a largely disappointing Red Bulls Reserve team.  Maduro also had time to try out for the Rochester Rhinos in March of 2011, but was not signed by the team.  In the last year, apparently, he jumped leaps and bounds in his personal training and talent and work rate.  He went from unimpressive at a division 3 trial to good enough for an MLS roster.  A round of applause are in order for Mr. Maduro.

This is another signing made for the purpose of depth, but it is also another signing I don’t understand.  Maduro marks the club’s 13th acquisition since the end of last season following 16 departures.  I expect most, if not all, of the trialists signed (Ruthven, Barklage, Arteaga, Angulo  and now Maduro) to merely be stand ins during practice and get released at the end of the season like what happened to John Rooney, Matt Kassel, Marcos Paullo, Sacir Hot, Tyler Lassiter, Alex Horwath, Teddy Schneider, and Mike Jones after last season.

The problem last year wasn’t that we didn’t have enough bodies at the club, though you could be forgiven for thinking that when Hans Backe only brought 4 or 5 substitutes for his bench.  Last season’s depth problem was that Mehdi Ballouchy, Stephen Keel, and Dax McCarty were our best options coming off the bench.  That hasn’t changed.  Bringing in “hopefuls” doesn’t make the team any better.  That money could be spent paying for a few quality players who offer a similar level of talent and output to Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards and Jan Gunnar Solli, instead of spread out paying for a 5 or 6 or 7 players who won’t ever make an impact on the field.

Congratulations to Ryan Maduro for signing his first professional contract with the New York Red Bulls.  But don’t expect him to improve the team at all in 2012, unless he has some unique technique of being a cone during practice.

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