CHICAGO — It was a longer wait than some may have expected, but with the 32nd pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the New York Red Bulls got the player they wanted all along in former Hoosier right back Rece Buckmaster.
“At the New York Red Bulls we go after guys that are fearless, have personality, that physically have something, that are good human beings, and he checked all the boxes,” Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas said. “So, once we got by positionally what we were hoping to get out of this draft, we rated him high. We had him as the highest ranked right back here, so we think we got a winner.”
Buckmaster’s surprising wait came as a result of an impressive MLS combine performance that saw him rise up draft boards just prior to the draft. Buckmaster didn’t even plan on attending the event until he saw the interest he generated at the combine.
No matter the wait time, Buckmaster never hesitated.
“Yeah it was a bit of a long wait, but at the end of the day I’m just happy I got drafted by a great organization, a great team, and I watch them play a lot and I’m just excited to get out there,” Buckmaster said.
The culmination to Buckmaster’s patience came in the form of a 10 minute delay prior to his selection. The 10 minute delay came as a result of a lengthy trade negotiation that saw representatives from the New York Red Bulls running from their table to the Chicago Fire’s and back.
The Red Bulls insistence on moving up to get Buckmaster ended with a trade that awarded the Red Bulls with Buckmaster in exchange for a player to be named later.
“Yeah that was crazy,” Buckmaster said. “I was talking to my agent and he knew some things were going down. So yeah, it was long, but it was worth it for sure.”
Indiana’s former fullback joins a long history of producing professional talent. Buckmaster is the 47th Indiana player selected in the MLS Draft since the league’s inception in 1996 and that comes from a sense of dedication to development.
“I mean that was my dream school all along and when they pushed me to outside back my junior year, Todd knew it was the moment that I could be at the next level,” Buckmaster said. “Ever since then it has worked out.”
While at his dream school, Buckmaster helped the Hoosiers post 54 shutouts in his 82 career matches.
Part of that success and development is thanks to his mentality off the pitch.
“He has all the things that you need to be successful,” Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley said. “One, his humility is off the charts. Probably his only knock is he doesn’t know how good he is, but yet all the pro coaches that was something that was ringing to their ears about. Having someone that is not expecting to take a job but is willing to put the work in and wants it….Nothing was ever given to Rece. Nothing at IU. He didn’t come in and start day one. He earned it, and he’s just a great teammate. He has the work rate. He has the athleticism as a quality and the durability. He is still tactically growing. Technically, he just has to refine it. It’s just a couple small things, but not a big enough gap that it won’t be able to be closed.”
Now, the Red Bulls’ full back is ready to put in the work needed at the professional level. He should also be prepared to slot right into a style of play that comes naturally.
“His defensive work is tremendous and he’s the perfect one to bring into an MLS team to push the guy in front and see where it goes,” Yeagley said. “Red Bulls really likes also the style of which we like to press. It’s a fit. They like the disciplne of which our kids are taught. They have a very similar approach to how they play so I think it’s a good systematic fit.”
Ultimately, the MLS SuperDraft opens doors that college soccer players could previously only imagine. For Buckmaster, Friday’s draft was special.
“It’s a dream come true,” Buckmaster said. “Obviously getting drafted it has always been my dream ever since I could walk. I remember just always wanting to play professional soccer, and thanks to the Red Bulls they made a dream come true.”