In a Red Bull Hub exclusive, I talked with New York Red Bulls II forward Omar Sowe about his time so far with the club, his transition from high school and academy teams to professional soccer, what he’s been doing to keep himself busy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what his objectives are for when USL Championship returns to action.
How has the transition been so far from high school and playing with the Under-18s and Under-23s to professional soccer and what has been the toughest challenge so far?
“It was great, I learned from each level and prepared for the next, wanting to be better and just being focused. The toughest challenge was probably dealing with the playing time. Everyone there was dedicated to the sport and to be on the field, you had to earn it.“
What is it like working with John Wolyniec and how has he helped improve your game?
“Coach John has been one of the best coaches I’ve had so far and we relate almost completely to the game because he was also a striker for New York and knows exactly what it takes to be at the best level.”
What did it feel like to sign your first professional contract with the team?
“I still don’t look at myself as a professional, I’m just going out there and being able to do what I love is the dream that I get to live.”
How exciting is it knowing you are playing with a club and in a system that has developed incredible players such as Tyler Adams and Aaron Long?
“It makes me hungry, it just shows that you do get an opportunity and it’s all about working hard.”
Who do you look up to as a player within the club and outside of the club? Why?
“I used to look up to Brad [Wright-Phillips] before he left for LAFC. He guided me and helped me out with gaining confidence and playing freely. All the guys on the club I look up to, it’s hard to have an entire team with the same mindset and goal, and we seem to do that pretty well and I think it shows on the field.”
What has been the most exciting aspect of playing in USL so far?
“The best part would have to be playing at home in front of our fans and family.”
What have you done to pass the time during the lockdown and have you learned any new skills?
“I have been working out doing my best to stay in shape, with help from the coaching staff sending us drills and workouts to complete. I have picked up a couple new moves and hopefully I’ll get to demonstrate it this year.”
Last season, you played 139 minutes and scored two goals. What are your ambitions and goals that you have set once USL returns to play and how difficult do you think it will be to get back to match speed?
“My goal, not only for this year, but as it has always been is to become the best. We are ready and excited to be back on the field. The guys have done a great job staying in shape and back ready to go.”