The New York Red Bulls have forged a reputation as one of the Major League Soccer leaders in developing and cultivating Homegrown talent.
From Matt Miazga to Tyler Adams and most recently Omir Fernandez, local, American players have climbed the club’s pyramid to earn a spot on the first team.
“It’s a big move for a young player coming from Europe over here,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “You don’t see those young players making those types of moves.”
And like Kaku, who made the move from Huracán in Argentina’s Primera Division, Jørgensen is a player who Hamlet believes fits perfectly in the Red Bulls system.
“He’s along the same lines in terms of having those types of characteristics,” Hamlett said. “We feel that’s a good starting point to integrate him and we’ll see how it goes from there. We felt very confident, but the most important part was it was more about him coming here and seeing our environment, where he’s going to spend the next few years here and get a real good feel for that.”
Hamlett didn’t see Jørgensen play in person — the 18-year-old made 18 appearances for Odense Boldklub in the Danish SuperLiga, scoring three times. But Ben Ehresmann, the club’s head of scouting, has.
They’ve also watched enough videos to formulate what Hamlett called an “extensive report” on Jørgensen, who has competed for Denmark on the U-18 and U-19 levels.
“We feel like he, as a striker, has some dynamic tools that we feel can help us right off the bat,” Hamlett said. “His ability to stretch the defense, he has some clever movements up front and he’s someone who is a team player and his willingness to play for the team we think will be a good fit for us.”
While Hamlett and the Red Bulls liked what they saw from Jørgensen on the field, they needed to make sure he was the right fit in the team’s tight-knit locker room. Jørgensen also needed to see more from the Red Bulls and landed in New Jersey last week to take a tour.
He checked out Red Bull Arena and the team’s training facilities in Hanover. Jørgensen watched training and met with Hamlett, the first team coaching staff and the players. They even took him to a Brooklyn Nets game against the Denver Nuggets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“For an 18-year-old young man, he’s pretty clear in terms of his thought, his ideas,” Hamlett said. “He’s very humble, has a good attitude, his willingness to be a team player. … For us, character is a big piece for us in terms of the culture we’re trying to create and bringing in the right people that are team players. When we met him, that was one of the things that really stood out in terms of his humbleness, his team-first mentality, which speaks volumes for a young player.”
Jørgensen isn’t joining the Red Bulls in Tucson, Arizona, their preseason hub for the next seven days, as he awaits receipt of his ITC and Visa.
But Hamlett is confident Jørgensen will be able to make an immediate impression on the first team.
“We expect him to have an impact from the get-go,” he said.
As for the seemingly eternal question about adding a third Designated Player to the roster, Hamlett said the team has “roster flexibility.” But there’s also a strong belief in the squad, as currently constructed, as a championship contender on several fronts, including the Concacaf Champions League.
“We feel very confident with the roster we have right now,” Hamlett said. “We have the flexibility if we want to add a bigger piece or another player, we have those resources that we can do that. For us right now, I think our main focus is getting ready for CCL. We have a good group that’s working really hard and they’re ready to go.”