Harrison, NJ (March 10, 2018) – Teenager and New York Red Bulls midfielder Ben Mines gets it.
At just 17, Mines is the latest shining example of what Head Coach Jesse Marsch and the technical staff are trying to accomplish since taking the reins in 2015. “Coming up through this amazing system, sitting in the stands and watching these guys play, (playing in my first MLS match) is pretty amazing,” Mines said after his first Major League Soccer start and goal.
The situation was relatively straightforward. With CONCACAF Champions League coming up on Tuesday night, Marsch had to rotate his squad. If you ask the technical staff, their faith in the roster from top to bottom is unwavering. Tonight, New York showed why. “When you have so many young, talented players that you can supplement into the team, it’s exciting to see. I think it should be exciting for the fans,” Marsch stated after the match. “It’s certainly exciting internally, and we know that these guys all have bright futures. So you know, when I’m watching the game, I’m almost thinking to myself, man, it’s going to be a tough job for me this year to keep everybody moving forward in a way that honors where they are at.”
For goalkeeper and Red Bulls captain Luis Robles, tonight’s performance is not a surprise. At the end of the first preseason session in Florida, Robles pointed out that Mines was the best player in camp. With the way preseason ended, Robles saw this performance coming. “We saw just those guys that know what is expected from them and are willing to come in and play the way they did today. I think Ben [Mines] and Kyle [Duncan] deserve a lot of praise tonight because you never know what your debut is going to look like,” Robles said.
Robles continued, “I remember in my first professional game how nervous I was playing in front of forty thousand people, and yet, with these guys before the game, you could see within them that there wasn’t nervousness, they were ready for the fight and that was not only very exciting for the team but for the organization.”
The commitment the Red Bulls have shown to developing players from within has been stunning. With the success of players such as Matt Miazga, Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Derrick Ettienne Jr., Aaron Long, and now Ben Mines, their commitment to developing youth through their academy and USL club is paying off. “It is a group of people that are all committed to each other, and that’s from Marc de Grandpre and the organization to then, you know, Denis Hamlett and the way that we run the sporting department and then when we talk about how our first team, our USL team, our PDL team and our academy teams work together, there’s a system here,” Marsch said of the process. “It’s a factory. It’s a player and a football factory, and we believe wholeheartedly, there’s no one in this club who doesn’t believe in the way we do things and our identity, and it actually makes life easy for everyone.”
“This is not just happening now. This has been happening for three-plus years, and it’s just a progression. You know, this club will be set up for years to come, no question. This club will be — whoever gets my job next is going to continue all the work that’s been done and continue to push this thing further and further.”