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bana2166
03-30-06, 02:49 PM
Johnny Exantus & NYRed Bulls to open Super Y-League season Saturday
Championship youth club of MLS team kicks off 2006 campaign
USL News Release

Thursday, March 30, 2006

TAMPA, FL -- The U17 Boys Red Bull New York, formerly the MetroStars, will kick off the 2006 Super Y-League season when they take on FC Westchester this Saturday at Tryon Field in New York. Red Bull New York U17 Boys will be defending the organizations? only championship won under the MetroStars banner. The match is the first of two for the SYL Red Bulls and is the first official match this year for the New York Red Bulls organization, which begins Major League Soccer play Sunday at DC United.

?Winning the Super Y-League Championship last season was definitely a terrific achievement for us here at Red Bull New York,? said Paul O?Donnell, coach of the 2006 U17 New York Red Bulls. "We?re a part of a professional organization here. We go into each season expecting the best from our players. The outlook on this team is obviously optimistic coming off our championship season last year and it should be a tough contest going against one of the top teams in our league and the country in FC Westchester.?

In the SYL 2005 North American Finals the 9-1-1 Red Bull New York opened the quest for the title with a 4-0 victory over the 10-2-1 Jersey Shore Boca. New York then earned a spot in the semifinals by downing the 12-2 Washington Crossfire 2-1. Having locked up a semifinal spot, the Red Bulls played to a 1-1 draw against an 8-2 West Kendall before besting host HC United 2-1 in the semifinals. New York then earned the first and last championship under the MetroStars banner outlasting The Santa Clara Sporting Ruckus in a 2-1 overtime thriller.

"The Super-Y League gives our players the opportunity to compete at the highest levels," said Chris Canetti, Assistant General Manager of Red Bull New York. "This elite competition is critical to the development of our individual players and our team. It also provides a platform for us to measure our success and our talent against some of the best players in North America."

One of the key players in the team's championship run was Johnny Exantus, who scored the overtime championship-winning goal. During the offseason, Exantus (aka Johnny X) became a hot topic as a prospect for the senior Major League Soccer side, but was unable to be signed to a pro contract due to his age and league regulations. He will return to play for the U17 Boys this season according to O'Donnell.

"So far, Johnny X has shown a bit more than most," Red Bull New York Head Coach Mo Johnston told NewYorkRedBulls.com in January while conducting a tryout for the MLS side. "He's one for the future. He's one that you look at and spend some time on. He's a threat. He has good pace. He's got an eye for the goal."

"I'm excited about the Academy. It's good that we can hand pick certain players and bring them into our system to hopefully make them better," Johnston continued. "They've done a great job in developing players and hopefully this is a stepping stone in terms of getting other younger players in the Metro area."

"For the past few years, the MetroStars have spent considerable time, resources and money on our youth development programs," said New York Red Bulls president and general manager Alexi Lalas. "Johnny X is already a member of the (Red Bull New York) family and we think he has the ability to make the jump to our senior team.