The New York Red Bulls‘ rich tradition of signing academy products continued Tuesday with the club announcing the addition of defender John Tolkin to the first team.
The 17-year-old becomes the 22nd Homegrown player signed and the 25th player to come up through the club’s academy.
“John is regarded as a top young talent not just in our academy, but in the U.S. Youth National Team Pool as well,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “We are proud to have played a role in John’s development so far, and happy to share this day with him and his family as he begins his professional career.”
The Chatham, New Jersey native has been a part of the Red Bulls academy since 2015, making 79 Developmental Academy regular season appearances and scoring 15 goals. He’s also been called up to the U.S. Under-17 national team eight times.
“We’re thrilled for John, his family, and our club,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “John stood out to us in preseason last year with his fearlessness, high soccer intelligence, and ability to play within our style. We saw that continue with NYRB II last season and we’re excited to continue working with him as he starts his professional career.”
Tolkin made nine starts in 13 appearances with Red Bulls II in the USL Championship last year, recording three assists. His first professional point came in a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Philadelphia Union II on July 10.
“I’m very excited to sign my first pro contract,” Tolkin said. “Every academy kid dreams of this, and I’m happy it’s here now. I’m ready to work hard and do everything for the club, I love the club and I can’t wait to get started.”