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Opinion: Davis Departure Shows Talent Pipeline is Working

photo by Matt Kremkau

New York Red Bulls captain Sean Davis has departed the club after becoming an MLS free agent, deciding that Nashville SC is where he wants to take his talents. While it may seem like a blow to New York to lose such a long-term player, it does show that the team is able to groom players from the academy into important positions on the first team.

Davis, a product of the Red Bull Academy, started with the club in the U-23 team and worked his way up to the MLS club in record time. He was a part of the star-studded 2016 New York Red Bulls II team, overshadowed by the likes of Tyler Adams, Aaron Long and Derrick Etienne Jr. As time would show, Davis become the most consistent for New York, logging a record number of appearances and earning the captaincy through several coaching changes. 

While it may hurt some fans to see such a player leave, Davis put his time in and proved that the club is willing to nurture young players to their full potential. With him departing the club, the door is now open for others such as Daniel Edelman, to step into a spot that they know opportunities await. This is something that New York has only begun to nurture over the last seven years.

A decade ago, a player like Davis would not be able to earn minutes with the first team. Several big-name prospects, Juan Agudelo in particular, appeared poised to become a major part of the club alongside superstars like Thierry Henry. However, the impatience to help a young player grow saw his minute diminish until he no longer had a spot on the club.

Current New York Red Bulls are different. They are actively looking to push young talent and help them achieve their goals, whether they be in MLS or elsewhere as we see with Caden Clark and Kyle Duncan.

Still, there is warranted frustration from the fanbase. The team still hasn't won an MLS Cup and now had to watch crosstown rivals NYCFC do it in a fraction of the time in the league. That, combined with Davis choosing to leave for Nashville, gives off a feeling of continued loss. There isn't much the club can do to change this other than success on the field. However, it should be noted that the club and fans have always been at odds with both sides having understandable grievances.

As for Davis, his career takes the next step with Nashville. The New Jersey native has played his entire professional career in the Northeast and now moves to a different regions with different challenges. While it will be sad to see him in a new uniform next season, it is understandable that a 28 year-old would seek a new challenge and one that should be respected by both fans and his peers.

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