When the New York Red Bulls technical staff met up at the club’s training facility in East Hanover Thursday morning, the names of potential selections in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft were on the white board.
At the top was Marquette fullback Patrick Seagrist, who sporting director Denis Hamlett was concerned wouldn’t be around when the club picked at No. 15.
So the Red Bulls traded up, sending $100,000 in General Allocation Money to the Chicago Fire for the pick while keeping their original pick.
As a result, the Red Bulls got Seagrist as well as Cherif Dieye, a midfielder from Louisville, in the first round.
“Overall, I think it has been a good day for us and we are excited to get these four draft picks,” Hamlett said. “Obviously there are two more rounds come Monday but I think overall today was a good day for us.”
With depth at fullback a priority, Seagrist opened eyes at the club’s combine at their training facility. Seagrist led Marquette with seven assists this fall, earning All-Big East honors in back-to-back years. He started 63 of the 65 matches he appeared in during his four seasons.
“He is aggressive, always on the front foot, someone who is going to fit well into our system,” Hamlett said. “I think he is a player that can get into the final third and he has shown in his final two years [in college] he can get some goals and assists, so we are excited to get him.”
At No. 15, the Red Bulls selected Dieye, who assistant scout Jimmy Mulligan kept tabs on throughout the season and who Hamlett said the club scouted in North Carolina.
The attacking midfielder from Senegal led Louisville with seven goals, including three match-winners, while also dishing out six assists. He was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Second Team and was a 2019 All-ACC Second Team selection after earning third team honors in 2018.
“He is different in the final third, exciting when he has the ball with the things he can do,” Hamlett said. “In an interview with Cherif at the MLS combine, we got to know him and showed he is full of confidence, he knows what he is about and what his strength is. We think that was a good pick for us.”
The Red Bulls added needed goalkeeping depth by taking Wallis Lapsley from UC Davis at No. 36 and took Wright State forward Deri Corfe at No. 41. The native of Chester, England, who was part of the Manchester City organization for six years, was another product of the club’s combine.
“He is different because everything looks easy when the ball is at his feet,” Hamlett said of Corfe.
Not in the Red Bulls war room Thursday, but still part of the process was head coach Chris Armas. He’s in Leipzig for the week, watching the German Bundesliga side train and speaking with the staff during the club’s winter break.
“It was good, I think that it is crazy that when you think about if we did this last year that it probably could not have happened because [Chris] would have had to have been at the table,” Hamlett said, referring to the changed draft format in which teams were at their home bases rather than a conference hall. “With technology now, it made it like he was here.”