It was as a defensive mid that Adams forged his reputation as one of Major League Soccer's best young prospects and one of the U.S. national team's most promising players. If you witnessed any of his play for the Red Bulls this season, you were left trying to figure out how he seemd to cover the whole field so quickly and easily.
Adams' final game as a Red Bull came during a 1-0 victory over Atlanta United in the second leg of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference final on Nov. 29 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. New York lost the aggregate-goal series, 3-1. “It’s a tough way to go out,” Adams said after conceding the Eastern Conference Finals title to Atlanta. “That’s been my focus all season long to try to win an MLS Cup. To fall short is never easy. Obviously for me, there has been speculation all season about what will happen next.”
There were strong rumors all season long that Adams would join former Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch, now an assistant coach, at RB Red Bull in the Bundesliga. They came to fruition on Sunday when the transfer officially took place. Adams hoped that his transition would be a smooth one. “Being a part of this team and this culture here, it’s so similar to how they play at RB Leipzig,” he said. “It’ll probably be the best transition for me … If I was to slot in tomorrow at defensive mid, the role for the most part is similar to what I’ve done here and that probably keeps me at ease the most about starting a new journey there.”
No one had to remind Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas that he would be without a special player for so many reasons when the 2019 season rolls around. “Tyler’s growth, we haven’t seen anything like this in this country,” he said. “Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, those are the two, you know, guys in our national team that show a fearlessness quality, big personalities, humbleness, work ethic, maturity courage — going to start repeating myself — courage, they keep going.”
Ironbound's current director of operations John Soares never saw Adams in action much on the field, but was left impressed when last year Adams attended the club's annual dinner as a special player appearance. "Normally, they only stay around for like an hour," Soares said. "He stayed with kids for four hours, signing autographs. That's the down to earth kid that he is. That it meant a lot to the kids to be with them, to take pictures with them, to get autographs. He didn't get to that point, 'Hey, I'm only supposed to get here from one to two, I'm leaving.' He just kept interacting with the kids. To us, that showed what a great kid he is. "It also shows what kind of potential he has because those are the little things that make the player special."
From everyone in the EDP, Ironbound, Red Bulls and US Soccer family—thank you, Tyler.