Cahill says NY move was opportunity he couldn't pass up
HARRISON, N.J. – Tim Cahill sat in room full of reporters, fielding question after question about his move from Everton to the New York Red Bulls. A move that was formally announced on Monday and a move that Cahill said he had little doubt about making.
During his introductory press conference on Monday, the Red Bulls’ newest Designated Player said he joined the team from English Premier League club Everton with the thought that it will help him continue to succeed in his career.
WATCH: Cahill trains with NY for first time
There was no talk about getting paid the big bucks that are often associated with DPs in New York, nor talk about how he picked New York to live in relative anonymity.
Instead, the chance to play along side the likes of Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez in a league he considers full of quality was simply too good a chance to pass up.
"I think with opportunities in football, you can't stutter," Cahill said. "It's such a big club, the New York Red Bulls, and to play with Thierry Henry and a big squad, I made my decision pretty quick. I made sure it happened and gave my commitment to give everything. There were two years left on my contract [with Everton], so part of me was mixed emotions. But I'm happy now and can't wait to get started."
The 32-year-old Cahill, who sat alongside his new head coach Hans Backe in the press conference, spoke fondly about his time at Everton. But he also revealed how often he had been pondering a move to MLS, which Cahill says is gaining respect by leaps and bounds abroad.
"I think I spoke about the MLS every year,” said Cahill. “I traveled here the last six, seven, eight years with Everton. Landon Donovan came on loan twice. We've had Marcus Hahnemann and Edson Buddle.
“But the MLS is such an enticing league for professional players. I watch a lot of games. I spend a lot of time watching football from around the world. This is a really physical league and the other night the All-Star Game was a perfect example of how technical the football is starting to be. I know I need to be in top form and in top fitness.”
In order to sign with the Red Bulls, Cahill said he had to turn down other offers from inside the Premiership. He said playing for someone else in England just was not an option for him.
The Australian international also admitted that he did not contemplate moving back to his homeland, where he has never plied his trade.
"This is a massive move for me,” Cahill said. “Moving to the A-League for me would be a step backwards. That's no disrespect. I want to still play at a high level. There's still another World Cup I want to play and qualify for the Australian team.
“I didn’t speak to any A-league club. … I'm more interested in the grassroots level football in Australia but not playing there."
Cahill will not have to wait long to make his Red Bulls debut. Backe said he would play his newest acquisition, who he considers a central midfielder or as a central forward, against Tottenham Hotspur in their friendly on Tuesday at Red Bull Arena.
"Tomorrow, he will play as one of two central midfield players,” said Backe. “Tomorrow we will also try to start Teemu Tainio against Spurs and I'm really looking forward to seeing these two guys in central midfield. Tim can be the link to our strikers so he'll be involved a lot in our buildup and in our defending."
For Cahill, playing so soon despite him being in preseason form is just part of his job. After all, he is just eager to get started with the club that is hoping he can help them win an MLS Cup.
“I'm from Australia so we don't do things in half measure, we do what we're told," Cahill said. "I know playing tomorrow night might be a bit quick but I'm fit and feeling good."
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.