The New York Red Bulls have signed goalkeeper Rafael Diaz to an MLS contract, the club announced today.
Diaz spent the 2013 season with NPSL side Brooklyn Italians SC.
“Rafael is a steady, consistent, and confident keeper,” former Brooklyn Italians SC head coach Lucio Russo commented. “He is an extremely intelligent player who knows when to come out for the ball whether it’s a one-on-one situation or a corner kick. Rafa is incredibly brave and is a valuable teammate. He was an invaluable member of my squad that season and was a difference maker.”
Diaz also spent two seasons with New York Red Bulls II.
“Rafi has done well to learn and improve over the last two seasons,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. “He has proven to be a good professional and we look forward to him continuing his development with the club this season.”
Diaz, a native of Rockaway, N.J., has played 11 games in two seasons for a total of 819 minutes. Last year, the goalkeeper allowed just two goals in five appearances, completing three clean sheets.
Diaz finished 2016 with a goals-against average of .905, the best in USL amongst players with a minimum of five appearances.
Diaz, a Morris Hills High School graduate, was named New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year and NSCAA New Jersey Player of the Year his senior year. Diaz also joined the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team for a period.
The goalkeeper played four years of college soccer at St. John’s University. Diaz earned numerous undergraduate recognitions, and capped off his college career by starting all 20 matches as a senior and posting a 0.80 goals against average. He holds the school record for career shutouts with 32.
After college, Diaz signed his first professional contract with then USL PRO side Orlando City in 2014. After one season with Orlando, Diaz joined the New York Red Bulls for preseason in 2015 and signed with Red Bulls II.