Media Day Interviews 2019 Part II

The following are excerpts from interviews with New York Red Bulls players from the team’s 2019 Media Day.

Omir Fernandez

On his professional debut

Yeah it’s a dream come true, you know, to debut as a professional, it’s what I’ve dreamt of all my life and you know it’s such a big game. But the team is known for that—to give their young players a chance. And the confidence that my teammates give and the coaching staff… it was easier for me to play my game and [not] worry about the outside stuff and I was glad I had the chance to play.

His feelings going out onto the field for the first time

I was kind of remembering all of my firsts: the first time I hit the ball, the first time I debuted in college, the first time I got to Red Bulls, you know all those first things were just coming to me because what I had worked for is finally here. It was honestly an exciting moment and like, kind of emotional for me inside. It was really good.

Personal & team goals

As a first year as a pro, obviously, I want to get better as a player and I think any player wants to develop and improve. And as a team, I just want to play my role- help the team achieve their dreams, because I know I’m coming into one of the best teams in the MLS so I’m just trying to do my part and help them be successful

Ryan Meara

On his surgery and how he feels

Yeah, I had a little knee scope, about three weeks ago now, so I just started training again yesterday {How do you feel?} Good, yeah real good.

{Was there any worry going into getting the scope?} It was something that’s been bothering me since probably midway through last season. I was hoping just a month off in the off-season would solve it, and I started training again, it just didn’t feel right, so we figured just do it now and get it done with, and it should be good by next week

How he keeps himself sharp as the second goalkeeper

Just training hard like I’m gonna play every week. And I think that’s one of the reasons that when I did come in last year I did pretty well and was able to hold my own and contribute. You know, I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to keep myself ready- what I need to do throughout the week to get maybe a couple of extra reps, do some extra stuff after training, so if and when my number is called, that I can step in and contribute. Yeah, you know it’s not easy but you just gotta stay the path and roll with the punches.

On what competition he wants to play in

Whatever I can get! Just play the games they pick you for and just try and make the most of it. Personally, try and have a good showing for yourself. At the end of the day, you want to be a guy that is known as—when you’re in the team, you guys win. You know I think you can obviously…you hope to perform well and show well for yourself personally, but it’s all about winning.

At the end of the day, you want to be a guy that is known as—when you’re in the team, you guys win. You know I think you can obviously…you hope to perform well and show well for yourself personally, but it’s all about winning.

I think the culture we’ve created, we have, from top to bottom, the amount of guys that can step in and start and hold their own and contribute to a team. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we set the record for points last year. If you look up and down the roster, almost every guy played a part at some point. I just look at it, I’m part of the equation, happy to be on the team, and we’re ready to push for some silverware this year.

On the improvement to the roster during his tenure

I think, from top to bottom, yeah. I think a big part of that is what Red Bull II has brought to the table for this club. You know, if you look at guys like Aaron Long, Tyler Adams, myself, Vince [Bezecourt], Flo [Valot], Derrick [Etienne], go down the line of guys who use Red Bull II as a real platform to, one just keep fit and keep sharp and two, kinda launch yourself up into the first team. I look at that Red Bull II team we had in 2016: we set all those records, we won USL Cup… and you look at the guys who have progressed now to the first team and have big roles… it’s been such an asset to the club.

So I think that’s one of the main things that has changed. And the way we started with Jesse [Marsch] and Ali Curtis, and now Chris[Armas] and Denis [Hamlett], the way they approach Red Bull II, encourage kids to – Listen, the pipeline is there: if you perform well, you’ll get moved up and you get opportunities, so… I think it really prepares kids for when they come into the first team, they know what’s expected, they know the system, and they can slot right in and fulfill a role with the team.

Marcus Epps

On adjusting to a new team

Oh, it’s been good. You know, it’s a lot to adjust to, the system and how they play here. But it’s been great—they guys have been helpful, the coaching staff has been helpful, and I’ve been adapting to the playing style, it’s been a fun experience.

What has eased the transition

The coaching has been a big part. The staff, they’ve been drilling me with the tactics and system and how you guys play. It’s been great, they’ve made it easy with the team, it’s a lot of good players to play with and once you hop in with good players it doesn’t take too long to adjust. I think it’s been great with the style and adjusting it with my game. I’m excited to see more.

The biggest difference from Philly

I would say that here is more hands-on. Philly was a good organization, I learned a lot there, but here, everything’s at a higher pace, a faster pace, the coaches are more hands-on, the players are hands-on, everything moves quicker here, so I feel like that an adjusting, but it’s be great, you know I feel like that change has helped me improve my game. I’ve been enjoying it so far.

His goal for the season

Definitely, I just want to continue to grow as a player, be a two- way player: focus on my defense, and defensive shape, as well as my offense, you know, getting it cleaner in the final third and producing more. So that’s just my goal is to be helpful for a team be able to provide whenever I’m called upon.

Kyle Duncan

On the expectations for the team this season

I feel like expectations are pretty high. You know, we won Supporter’s Shield, but didn’t come out with MLS Cup, and I feel like this year we’re chasing after that. I feel like we had a great team, some details needed to be fixed, but this year we’re gonna go out there

Personal goals

I mean last year, I tore my ACL in April, and I feel like it was great coming back, my teammates gave me the support I needed, as well as the staff, and the fans as well. They told me I’d come back stronger, and they just kept putting that in my head, and I feel like that motivated me. That made me want to prove to them that I’m ready to come back stronger. I’m ready to go after it this season, play, and win MLS Cup for this team.

About Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein is the managing editor of RBNN as well as the co-host of the Seeing Red and Raising Bulls podcasts.

View all posts by Joseph Goldstein →

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