On Saturday New York Red Bulls announced that the club has signed former IU defender Rece Buckmaster to a deal. Buckmaster joins the Red Bulls first team after spending time with New York Red Bulls II in the USL Championship.
“I’m very excited to sign a First Team contract,” Buckmaster said in a press release. “it was my dream ever since I could walk to play professional soccer and with New York Red Bulls II it came true by getting drafted, playing a half season with them and now moving to the first team. I am at a loss for words honestly, but I am ready to help the team in any way I can.”
In USL play he made 17 appearances, including 15 starts, and recorded an assist. Earlier this season he spent one match with the Red Bulls MLS side, getting loaned to the club to play in a US Open Cup match against New England Revolution. This move will allow Buckmaster to take a step up in terms of the level of competition as he’ll move from the second tier of professional soccer in the United States to the top.
“We liked Rece when we drafted him and thought he had a future with the first team,” Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlett said in a press release. “Rece has earned this opportunity and we know he will be ready when called upon.”
Buckmaster made his first MLS start on Saturday night, playing right-back for Red Bulls in a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. By taking the pitch he became the fourth former Hoosier to suit up for the club, following current IU assistant coach Danny O’Rourke (2006), Dema Kovalenko (2006-07) and most recently Eric Alexander (2013-14).
The 23-year-old was drafted by New York in the second round of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft after playing four years at IU. In his time as a Hoosier, he made 82 appearances and started 53 matches. He scored five goals, all but one coming during his senior year, and assisted on 12 others. The Auburn, Indiana native was named second-team All-Big Ten following his senior year. He largely played right-back during his final season as a Hoosier but has a versatile skill set that has allowed him to play all across the backline as a pro.