great write up and always remember Lade at Center Back against Kei Kamara in USOC in 2017
The Morristown, New Jersey native ably accomplished that, making 153 appearances over the course of eight seasons, becoming the club’s all-time leader in homegrown minutes. He was part of three Supporters’ Shield-winning sides, had five goals and nine assists.
But looking back now that Lade has announced his retirement from soccer, it’s clear his influence was felt more on the training ground and locker room than with match day statistics.
We use the phrase ‘all in,’ which are not just words to us here, and it’s not to him,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “Because that means that you show up and give everything, every day, when things are good, when things are bad, when you get your number called, when we need more from you in training just with the second team, when he gets injured. The kid just lives and walks with optimism and energy, you can feel that.”
Lade felt chills when watching the first team, hoping one day to join them. And the feeling was intensified when he walked out of the tunnel for an MLS match.
“I hope that you guys know I never took that for granted,” Lade told reporters. “I loved every minute of it. And I’ll enjoy the view again from the stands and I’ll be rooting this club on every step of the way.”
Lade, 29, had perspective few athletes have. He knew when it was his time to go. He understood the growing competition at outside back, the dwindling minutes. He knew how the wear and tear of a professional soccer player could take a toll later in life.
“I want to be able to run around with my daughter,” he said, choking back tears. “I want to be able to live a life where I can be there, be comfortable and not hobbled by injuries.”
Lade maximized his potential and, according to Armas, his effort — few get to say that.
“If you’re looking at a Red Bull player, and someone suited to the system, how we play, how things are done around the training ground around the arena, it’s Connor Lade,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said “It’s going to be sad to see him go.”
Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett remembers a U.S. Open Cup match in 2017 when Lade, playing center back, took on a much taller Kei Kamara.