Robin Fraser might be drawing a lot of interest these days, but New York Red Bulls head coach Mke Petke appears confident that his top assistant will remain at the club this season.
Fraser (above, right), the former US national team player who was born in Jamaica, has recently been linked with a potential move to the Colorado Rapids and has expressed interest in having a role with Jamaica’s national team, but Petke insisted Thursday that Fraser is very much still a part of New York’s plans for the upcoming season,
“No one’s a bigger supporter of Robin Fraser than I am” Petke told reporters on a conference call. “He’s been immense for not only me personally, but for the club. He is on the staff. He is on the coaching staff and there are rules to follow in the league, and at this moment, unless something has been kept from me internally which I doubt that very highly, we have not been contacted by Colorado or Jamaica or whoever, and they have to go through that protocol.
“He is on the staff and I expect him to be with us.”
The 47-year-old Fraser joined the Red Bulls staff in 2013 after Petke was appointed head coach shortly after the preseason began. Fraser helped Petke guide the Red Bulls to a first-place finish during the regular season, ending New York’s trophy-less drought of 18 years with the first Supporters' Shield in franchise history.
Prior to that, Fraser was the head coach of Chivas USA and served as an assistant under Jason Kreis at Real Salt Lake. Fraser was linked to RSL’s vacant head coaching position after Kreis stepped down last month, but the club ultimately chose assistant Jeff Cassar.
Fraser’s experience and knowledge of the league as both a player and coach make him an appealing candidate, but even so, Petke does not envision him leaving the Red Bulls.
“I think Robin has been around the league enough and he knows that it wouldn’t be the best case two weeks before preseason to have people contacting for him,” Petke said. “That’s the nature of the business. It could happen. But as far as I know, he’s going to be here with us, he’s definitely with us right now when we’ve had meetings, and he is eager to be here. I expect him to be with the New York Red Bulls, of course.”
Petke added that Fraser will be part of the Red Bulls’ staff that heads to South Florida for the MLS Player Combine, beginning Friday. The other members are assistant coach John Wolyniec, head scout Cris Da Silva and technical director Ricardo Campos.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.