Thursday, April 18, 2024

New York Red Bulls use creative child labor laws loophole as 15-year-old talent makes season debut

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With the move to playing most MLS games at 7:30 p.m. local time on Saturdays or Wednesdays, there have been fewer day games around the league. While that may not seem like much of an issue, it has delayed the season debut of New York Red Bulls homegrown Julian Hall. Only 15, he just made his season debut in the Red Bulls’ 4-0 defeat of Inter Miami on Saturday as the club was able to find a labor laws loophole. 

Due to New Jersey child labor laws, anyone under 16 is not allowed to work past 6 p.m. Due to this game starting at 2 p.m., he was able to be named to the bench before coming in during the 79th minute of play. With his birthday coming up on Sunday, he could be making the bench a lot more for Red Bulls as he will then be 16 and able to work after 6 p.m. Some states have exceptions for athletes and other professions but New Jersey isn’t one of them.

Hall actually played nine minutes last season making his first team debut against the Chicago Fire to become the second youngest player to ever play in an MLS game behind only Fredy Adu who debuted for D.C. United, although technically that debut shouldn’t have been allowed per these same labor laws as the game began at 7:30 p.m. With him turning 16 on Sunday, this will be behind them for the supremely talented winger. 

Already attracting interest from abroad, Hall will be a player to watch as the season goes on. He’ll still be brought along slowly but now he can sit on the bench and make more appearances as Sandro Schwarz could be building something special in Harrison. 

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