Pittser Field’s bleachers have been removed and a long road of dirt sits in its place. Piles of gravel and cinderblock lay where spectators once watched the Montclair State men’s and women’s soccer teams, and fans now have to watch the soccer matches from the Red Hawk Deck or atop the fourth floor of the business building. Why? The New York Red Bulls II are coming to Montclair State.
The Red Bulls announced in May that their reserve team, New York Red Bulls II, will make Montclair State their home beginning in 2017. As a part of the move, the Red Bulls will improve Pittser Field to increase the seating capacity and upgrade the press box and streaming capabilities.
“We wanted to provide a professional environment for the continuing development of our players and also be involved in a mutually beneficial relationship to continue the growth of soccer in our community,” said Red Bulls II General Manager Shaun Oliver, via a press release. “Red Bull’s investment into upgrading the Pittser Soccer Complex at Montclair State University meets both of those goals and gives our fans a chance to watch and engage with our players of tomorrow.”
The New York Red Bulls II play in the United Soccer League (USL) — a professional men’s soccer league that is considered a tier below the North American Soccer League and two tiers below Major League Soccer (MLS). Red Bulls II currently have an 18-3-5 record — the best in the USL — and boast a roster full of young, talented players.
Red Bulls II midfielder Tyler Adams and forward Derrick Etienne Jr. were among the young stars who played in the 2016 MLS Homegrown Game. Adams and Etienne joined Ryan Meara, Sean Davis and Connor Lade during the Red Bulls’ CONCACAF Champions League game against Antigua GFC on Aug. 3, which gave the Red Bulls five homegrown players on the field at the same time.
“The club has done a great job at placing an importance on homegrown players,” Davis said after the Aug. 3 match. “All of us have worked really hard. We’ve all come from the academy, we all know what it takes to succeed at this club. For it all to come together like that is really special and something that we’ll always remember.”
In addition to renovations and improvements, the Red Bulls II will bring high quality soccer to Pittser Field. The players on the Red Bulls II are young and will be on the first team for years to come, and the Montclair State community can see them in person, starting in 2017.