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Ram tough: Janos Loebe continues Fordham pipeline to New York Red Bulls

Jan 11, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Janos Loebe greets MLS commissioner Don Garber after being selected as the number 22 overall pick to the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the 2019 MLS Super Draft at McCormick Place. (Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s safe to say Janos Loebe aced his interview with the New York Red Bulls.

The German-born winger from Fordham University did his homework before he sat down with sporting director Denis Hamlett and the rest of the club’s technical staff, including former Fordham standout and Red Bulls II head coach John Wolyniec.

“It’s interesting, when we interviewed with him, I said, ‘Do you know who this guy sitting next to you is?’ And he said, “Yeah, he’s a legend,” Hamlett said.

Loebe joins Wolyniec and goalkeeper Ryan Meara as part of the Fordham pipeline to the Red Bulls. He was one of four players picked by the club at the MLS SuperDraft.

“It’s a fantastic feeling, something you dream of, something you’re working on, for me the last four years,” Loebe told reporters after being picked No. 22 overall. “Getting drafted by a team I know very well and they know me very well, it’s just perfect.”

Although he was a winger for the Rams, scoring seven goals with nine assists this past season, Loebe will be utilized as an outside back with the Red Bulls.

“I’m a fast player who is good going forward, good in transition,” Loebe said. “That’s exactly what the Red Bulls philosophy is and I think it’s also a reason why they chose me because I fit in the philosophy they play.”

Loebe and Hofstra centerback Sean Nealis, who was selected No. 25 overall, both participated in the Red Bulls’ college combine in December. Loebe said he also attended a few games at Red Bull Arena, including the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Columbus Crew SC in November.

“It was a great atmosphere, goosebumps for sure,” he said.

The Red Bulls traded with FC Cincinnati to select UC-Davis central defender Roy Boateng at No. 16 overall.

Boateng, who moved to the United States from his native Ghana at the age of eight, said he had an idea the Red Bulls were interested based on a meeting with coach Chris Armas at the MLS Combine in Orlando.

“I’m going to bring a lot of enthusiasm, positivity and hard work, mainly. It’s a club that works hard,” Boateng said. “They just roll their sleeves up and they grind. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Hamlett called Boateng physically “a specimen,” someone who enjoys defending.

“He’s different,” Hamlett said. “You know how we like to play, we need guys who can put out fires in the back as center backs.”

The same, Hamlett said, is true of Nealis.

“He was the defender of the year in [the Colonial Athletic Association], another solid guy who has played many games in college, another physical presence back there and another old school defender who enjoys defending,” Hamlett said.

The Red Bulls final selection Friday was Indiana fullback Rece Buckmaster, picked No. 32 in a trade with the Chicago Fire for the rights of a player to be named later.

Buckmaster might have had to wait a bit longer than he wanted to hear his name called from the podium, but it was just a few more minutes to realize a lifelong dream.

“Getting drafted has always been my dream, pretty much since I could walk,” Buckmaster said. “I remember just always wanting to play professional soccer.”

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