Photo courtesy of New York Red Bulls/MLS
After a pair of seasons with the New York Red Bulls U23 in the Premier Development League and four years at Wake Forest, senior defender Kevin Politz has made the leap to the professional game by signing a Homegrown MLS deal with the New York Red Bulls senior team.
Politz, a four year starter for the Demon Deacons, has been a long time member of the New York Red Bulls Academy system, most recently competing in the PDL in the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the U23 team. This past season, Politz helped lead the Red Bulls U23 to a 12-1-1 record and a Mid Atlantic Division title as well as the PDL Regular Season title.
“We’re proud to see another one of the PDL’s Top Prospects earn a move to the professional ranks,” said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. “Kevin has been a huge part of the New York Red Bulls U23 success over the past two seasons, and he’s earned this Homegrown contract. We look forward to seeing what he can accomplish in MLS.”
“Kevin’s continued development is a testament to the Red Bulls system, with the U23 team serving as the bridge between the youth academy and professional teams,” said PDL Co-Director Mike Panter. “We’re always happy to see players grow and move along the well-established path to professionalism, and we hope to see many more follow the success of Kevin and others who’ve successfully made the jump.”
With the Demon Deacons, Politz debuted in his freshman year by playing in all 19 of the team’s matches, starting 18. He continued to impress by starting 14 matches prior to injury his sophomore year before starting all 25 Wake Forest matches in his junior season while helping lead the team to its first ACC Championship in 27 years, finishing as the runner-up to Stanford. He’d help the team repeat as ACC Champions in 2017, guiding the team to its second consecutive College Cup appearance.
“It is an awesome feeling to be able to sign a Homegrown contract,” Politz said. “I have been a part of this organization for almost eight years now. I am truly blessed to sign this homegrown deal and very excited to get started.”
“We are really excited to add on another quality Homegrown player to our squad,” New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “Kevin has had a great career at Wake Forest both on and off the field, and we are excited for him to continue his career with us.”
A part of the United Soccer Leagues, which also operates the Division II USL, the newly-announced USL Division III and Super Y League, the PDL has served as the proven stepping-stone for aspiring professionals.
Nearly 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have PDL experience, including a total of 59 alums chosen in 2017. Among the many players to have played in the PDL before making their professional debuts include Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Tim Melia, 2017 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara and U.S. Men’s National Team members such as Darlington Nagbe, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream.