A Student And A Pro, Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams Finding the Perfect Balance

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

Tyler Adams might just be the most down to earth teenager in New Jersey.

The 17-year-old Adams signed a pro contract with the New York Red Bulls early in the offseason, completing a journey he has been building on since 2011; a journey that forged through the Red Bull Academy system. The trip included a stop at the USL level last season, where he and several of his Academy bretheren held a coming out party against EPL champion Chelsea in the annual series of summer European friendlies.

Now, scoring a goal against Chelsea would get to anyone’s head. However, Adams remains humble and grounded as he enters his first professional season with the Red Bulls first team.

“As of right now a lot of players have cemented themselves into the roster – returning players,” Adams tells EoS. “I think the biggest thing is to just go into practice thinking you don’t have a spot and keep working hard in order to find that spot.”

Last season, Tyler Adams made 11 appearances with Red Bulls II in USL competition. He made his professional debut for the club on March 19th — the first victory for the team.

This season, however, has started a bit differently for the young midfielder. Adams started his preseason training overseas in Germany. His visit to the Red Bulls clubs in Leipzig and Salzburg left an impression. “The experience was phenomenal. Their facilities, players and coaching staff are world class,” he explained. “They play the same way we do. All the teams are connected. It was an awesome experience to have the opportunity to go there.”

That concept of synergy extends to within the New York Red Bulls as well, according to Adams. “We’re doing a lot of similar things. A lot of the drills are the same (between USL and the senior team). Now, it’s just changing the players. The players are a lot higher caliber now – the speed of play and the technical ability, how fast you can think and set yourself up for the next play.

“Those kinds of things have made the biggest difference,” Adams continued. “Watching (my teammates) and the little things that they do have made a big difference for me.”

The core leadership group that head coach Jesse Marsch has built in New York has been especially important in Adams adjusting to life as a pro soccer player. “Guys like Dax, Sacha, Felipe, Brad – they help me out in any way that they can,” Adams explains. “If they see me make a mistake, they’re very positive with me. All those guys help me out a lot.”

Balance is important in anyone’s life, but for most 17-year-olds, the focus is socializing, and school. Add in a budding career as a professional athlete, and it could be easy to lose focus.

Adams seems to have struck that delicate balance between work, life and education. While he focuses on making an impression with the first team, he realizes where he is in life, and hopes to meet all his obligations — to the best of his ability.

“There’s got to be a balance to everything,” he acknowledges. “Not everyone has to go to school before training like I do, but as of right now, it’s going well. Resting is really important. With us training in the morning, I have the opportunity to hang out with friends at night, get schoolwork done and create a perfect balance between it all.

“I still get to do what I like to do, and it’s awesome.”


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