SARASOTA, Fla. – New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke might not have a wealth of experience as a coach, but his new assistant does and that’s exactly why Petke chose him as his right-hand man.
Robin Fraser officially joined the Red Bulls’ coaching staff on Wednesday, and his arrival means the club now has another person in charge who has experienced MLS as both a player and coach. Fraser, a former defender, played in MLS from 1996-2005 and served as an assistant coach at Real Salt Lake before taking over as the top man at Chivas USA the past two seasons.
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The addition of Fraser may seem sudden given that it came eight days after Petke was appointed head coach, but the process to bring the 46-year-old to New York actually started weeks ago. When sporting director Andy Roxburgh approached Petke about potential candidates for an assistant coaching position, Petke did not hesitate to mention Fraser.
“Just thinking of who could be a good fit for Red Bull and his name came up and to me it was a no-brainer,” Petke told MLSsoccer.com at the team hotel. “He was available and the experiences he has and knowing him personally, [I knew] his attitude, his personality, would fit right in. … I said to Andy that he would be a phenomenal addition to this staff.”
Fraser partook in his first two training sessions with the Red Bulls on Wednesday. He took more of a backseat to Petke in the morning practice as he acclimatized himself to his new surroundings, but it didn’t take him long to start feeling comfortable.
“The [afternoon] session, 20 minutes in, I’m looking over and saying to myself, ‘Do I tell him to calm down or keep going?’” Petke said. “But it was in a joking way because it was all about teaching and getting in there and it was phenomenal. The guys responded to it unbelievably.”
Signing Fraser is certainly a plus for the Red Bulls, but they likely are not done adding to their coaching staff. New York are currently without a goalkeeper coach, but it appears they will soon fill that vacant spot.
“We don’t have a contract signed with anybody," Petke said. "But we pretty much have our eye and know who it’s going to be shortly.”