Five Red Bulls Academy players getting look in USL before playing in college

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Five New York Red Bulls II players are getting an opportunity to play in USL while maintaining their college eligibility.

The USL’s academy agreement allows players to “train and compete for the USL team without collecting a salary or receiving other compensation so that they retain college eligibility,” according to a March 27 release from the club.

The five players include future Georgetown teammates Kyle Zajec (pictured above) and Ethan Lochner, Virginia commit Derrick Etienne, Michigan commit Marcello Borges and Tulsa commit Juan Sebastian Sanchez.

The Red Bulls appear to be one of only a few USL clubs taking advantage of the academy agreement so far this season. FC Montreal has three academy players on their roster – David Paulmin, Yann-Alexandre Fillion and Marco Dominguez – and Toronto FC II has two – Marcus Godinho and Nikola Stakic.

LA Galaxy II has signed five players from its Academy – Adonis Amaya, Ryo Fujii, Eric Lopez, Elijah Martin and Jaime Villareal – but all were signed to professional contracts. Their most recent signing, Ryo Fujii, inked a professional contract after a season at UC Santa Barbara and part of the deal includes scholarship money for him to attend nearby Cal State Dominguez Hills.

According to USL rules, each team is allowed up to five academy slots on their roster that don’t count against the 26 player master roster as long as the players are under the age of 21 and have not yet competed at the college level or played professionally at any level. This rule isn’t just for MLS-run teams either so the Philadelphia Union, for example, can send up to five players from their academy to play for Harrisburg City Islanders.

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