UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Despite his team's up-and-down 2011 season, New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe confirmed on Tuesday that he will be back with the club next year.
“I have one more year,” Backe told reporters, referring to the three-year deal he signed with the club in January of 2010. “I have ‘til December 2012.”
Backe’s comments are in concert with those of sporting director Erik Solér, who told reporters last week that the Swede would indeed return for a third season with the club no matter what happens to the Red Bulls in the MLS Cup playoffs. New York travel to Dallas for Wednesday's wild card match at Pizza Hut Park (9 pm ET, Fox Soccer/TSN).
“Hans is the head coach of the Red Bulls next season regardless of what happens,” Solér said.
Backe came to the club last January to help resurrect a team that finished at the bottom of the table a season before, turning the Red Bulls into first-place finishers in the Eastern Conference and favorites to win a trophy in 2011.
After a strong start to this season, the Red Bulls sputtered in midsummer, but rebounded down the stretch to clinch the 10th and final playoff spot last Thursday with a 1-0 win over Philadelphia.
Reports surfaced last week that Solér had been interviewing candidates to replace Backe and, in turn, that Backe had been in Europe three weeks ago when the Red Bulls had a break in the schedule. Backe denied reports that he was in his native Sweden to discuss a possible job opening.
“I would never go back and coach in Sweden,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “I’ve done that, for many years.”