The Sean Davis Story: Academy Prospect to New York Red Bulls Captain

Born on February 8, 1993 in Long Branch, New Jersey, Sean Akira Davis could not have imagined the career he would have with his local club, New York Red Bulls.  From youth player to club captain, Davis is the perfect example of how well the Red Bulls system produces talent and proves to young players that they can follow in Sean’s footsteps.  From his hard work and dedication for the club, he has earned his spot in the midfield as the leader and he will now look to help his team try to win its first MLS Cup.

In 2009, Davis took his first steps in the Red Bull system, joining the Red Bulls Academy.  He was also a part of several other youth clubs, one being the Holmdel Bulldogs, a club that was also very special to him.  Being in the academy allowed him to to learn the Red Bull way and develop as a young player. In 2011, he would take his talents to the collegiate level where he would play for Duke University, making 65 appearances.

It was not until his senior year when we saw the true potential of Sean Davis. That year he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in assists, was a three-time All-ACC selection, a three-time member of the All-ACC Academic Team, the 2014 ACC Midfielder of the Year, a CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team selection, and a Lowe’s Senior Class First Team honoree.  It was clear that Davis had plenty of potential; after finishing his education in 2014, he would return to play for the Red Bulls youth team.

In his summer season after finishing at Duke, Sean represented the New York Red Bulls Under-23 side, which at the time was playing in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).  That season, he helped lead the team to the 2014 NPSL title,  where he recorded the game winning assist.  It was at this moment when the New York Red Bulls knew they had a real player on their hands; even club legend, Thierry Henry, knew it.  Henry actually advised the organization to sign Davis to a professional contract.  In an article on app.com written by Davis himself, he writes, “I was simply honored and blown away by his endorsement”.  Henry’s persuasion paid off and on December 11, 2014, Sean would sign his first professional contract with the club.  He was now officially part of the Red Bull system; this was the beginning of Davis’ wonderful career with New York.  

In his first professional season, Davis would make five appearances with New York Red Bulls II, where he would record two assists in his time with the USL Championship side.  He made his MLS debut on April 17, 2015 in a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes coming on as a sub in the 86th minute.  From that day forward, his career would begin to take off and he would get his first start against the New England Revolution and his first goal against the Atlanta Silverbacks in the U.S. Open Cup; all these achievements came during his rookie season.

The 2015 season would be a pretty good one too, with the team winning the Supporters’ Shield under then head coach, Jesse Marsch.  In 2016, Davis ranked 22nd in MLS’ 24 Under 24 series, which listed the best players in the league under 24 years old. He would go on to play an essential role in the Red Bulls’ midfield for many seasons to come, scoring crucial goals in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play.

On February 27, 2020, he would make history becoming the club’s first homegrown captain after the departure of former captain Luis Robles for Inter Miami.  Head coach, Chris Armas, felt confident making Davis the new club captain, saying on media day, “Above all he loves the club, he’s been here since the beginning, he is a guy who commits everyday the way we expect. He leads mostly by example, but his voice is growing and his leadership has grown as well and we believe that Sean will be a good captain to lead into the future.” 

Two games into the season, he has led his team to a 3-2 win over FC Cincinnati and a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake.  Although it is early, Davis seems to be a great pick for club captain and it will be exciting to see what silverware he leads his local club to in the future.

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