Defender Sean Nealis has signed an MLS contract with the New York Red Bulls. The Long Island native was drafted in the second round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Scoring against the Timbers during a pre-season match, the rookie defender made his case for the first team roster spot in decisive fashion.
A Successful Student-Athlete
Nealis joins RBNY following an impressive college career at Hofstra University. The Pride’s captain in 2018, he made 69 starts in 72 appearances during his four years scoring four goals and three assists. He was named Defensive player of the year for the Colonial Athletic Association in 2018.
A Perfect Fit
Red Bulls coach Chris Armas praised the rookie defender for his ability to adapt to the Red Bulls system.
“He has grasped the defensive tactics quickly, is athletic, and has many of the qualities we look for in center backs.” The 6’4″ defender can bring depth to the roster. With CONCACAF Champions League, the U.S. Open Cup, and MLS league play approaching, rotation in the back line will be key to the club’s success.
A Native New Yorker
Born and raised in Massapequa, Nealis remains close to home following a college career in nearby Hempstead. Nealis is the sixth native New Yorker on the current first team roster. Although he does not have a homegrown history with the club, he has shown his talent and his effort in the pre-season camp.
“When we drafted Sean we knew we were getting a quality player… he has displayed qualities we look for on and off the field,” Sporting Director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. He stands to lend a helping hand to follow Long Island native Tim Parker, as well as the rest of the back line.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography