|photo from New York Red Bulls
With the New York Red Bulls II entering their final season in the USL Championship, one person that will not be going with them as they play in the MLS NEXT Pro developmental league in 2023 will be John Wolyniec, who announced that he will be stepping down from his position as the head coach of the club. John has been with the Red Bulls Academy/NYRBII in a coaching capacity since his retirement from playing in 2010. The sudden news has stunned both the club and supporters alike.
“I want to say thank you to the fans and club for all their support throughout the years, as a player and coach,” said John Wolyniec. “My goal was to always put this club in the best position, most importantly by creating an environment that fostered relationships with our staff and especially with our young players where we could all grow professionally and achieve the success we all chased. Now, I have a chance for myself to grow professionally and find that next opportunity that will help my coaching career.”
Wolyniec was announced as New York Red Bulls II's first head coach on March 2, 2015. He led NYRB II to a regular-season and championship title in 2016 in just the second season for the club. Wolyniec amassed an 88-75-43 record, six all-league players, the 2016 USL Defender and Rookie of the Year, and was named 2016 USL Coach of the Year.
“It was a pleasure to have been able to work with John these last two years,” said Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell. “He has done an exceptional job of not just transforming Red Bulls II, but elevating the expectations for the club. He is more than a soccer coach, and the impact he has had on these young men throughout his time here will be a positive influence for the rest of their lives.
“He was an amazing colleague to our other coaches and staff, always willing to help wherever it is needed,” said Thelwell. “I wish him and his family the very best in their next chapter.”
Over the course of his tutelage as NYRBII head coach, Wolyniec helped numerous players make the jump from the USL Championship side to MLS. Tyler Adams, Derrick Etienne Jr., Aaron Long, Jared Stroud, Florian Valot, and Brian White highlight the players he guided along their professional path from USL to MLS.
"On behalf of our organization, I would like to thank John for his unwavering dedication as a player and coach,” said Marc de Grandpré, General Manager, New York Red Bulls. “His commitment and class truly helped define the success of our club both on and off the pitch. I wish him and his family all the best.”
One would have to wonder if he saw the writing on the wall, now that NYRBII will no longer be competing in the USL Championship beyond next season factored into his decision to step down at the time. Regardless of the reasons, both professional and personal, he will be best remembered as the man who, under his peerless stewardship, made the program a successful destination for young soccer players looking to go professional in the NYC Metro area and in the United States.