Young Americans with stars in their eyes are obsessed with one thing and one thing only, the grind, the action of putting in 110% every day and improving on your craft until one day you make it.
The grind is something Tyler Adams knows far too well, and the grind is what has made the 19-year-old midfielder one of the best American prospects in years.
Since he was 12-years-old, Adams has had to make a 150 mile round trip from his home in Wappingers Falls, New York, to the New York Red Bulls training complex in Hanover, New Jersey.
Even now, seven years after joining the club and growing to become one of the best players in MLS and one of the best midfielders in world football in his age group, Adams continues to make this grueling trip to and from home as a reminder of not only where his roots are, but to remind him that to make it in this sport, you need to be able to put in the work.
This grind has led to Adams being one of the best, if not the best, midfielder in MLS. The American has represented and captained the United States at U15, U17 and U20 levels, and his attitude on the pitch and senior mentality have seen Adams drawn comparisons to Chelsea and France star N’Golo Kante.
And this comparison is what makes Adams a unique specimen in the world of football. The Red Bulls midfielder isn’t a goalscorer, nor is he an assist king, but what he does on the pitch and with the ball is so rare, and even rarer in a player that is doing it in his teenage years.
The Teen that gave Red Bull Wings
Adams is a relentless defensive midfielder that covers every blade of grass twice in a match. His work ethic and attitude to win the ball back at all costs have made him a key asset for the Red Bulls since he first broke into the first team at 17-years-old.
Although he started off as a right wingback for the New Jersey-based franchise, this starting block allowed Adams to improve on his versatility around the pitch as playing a diverse position allowed the young American to hone his defensive and offensive presence early in his career.
The lessons Adams learnt as a wingback translated well when then-coach Jesse Marsch moved the promising teenager into the heart of the Red Bulls midfield at the start of the 2017 MLS season, and since this change, Adams has gone from strength to strength as a player, and clubs in Europe have been watching.
The American Revolution
Ever since Freddy Adu washed up on the Portuguese shores of Lisbon for Benfica and went from being dubbed ‘The next Pele’ to advertising hoovers on Twitter, European teams have been cautious around young players that feature in MLS, but now, clubs are returning to America for talent.
Manchester City reignited the trend with the signing of Jack Harrison from sister club New York City FC at the start of the year, and more recently Bayern Munich went big on the signing of Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies.
And now Adams has joined this list of MLS starlets to set sail for Europe, and the American is likely to join a team with some familiarity about it.
Staying in the family
On December 2nd of this year, RB Leipzig acquired the signature for Adams from their American sister club, making the teenager the first major signing from the New York franchise to the East German side.
Transfers between Red Bull clubs is something that has been going on quietly in the background with the likes of Naby Keita, Dayot Upamecano and Konrad Laimer all going from RB Salzburg to RB Leipzig, as well as many more other players bouncing between the two clubs at all levels.
Adams will be the first major export from the MLS club to make a permanent move to the team spear-heading the Red Bull football revolution.
Although the Bundesliga side have been criticised in Germany and across Europe due to their lack of fan representation that is synonymous with German clubs, Leipzig has created a great reputation for playing exciting and dynamic football and doing so with young players with big potential.
In Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig will have not only one of the most exciting American products to come through MLS in years, but also a midfielder whom they can build their team around for years to come.