After weeks of uncertainty regarding his role with the team, the New York Red Bulls and sporting director Ali Curtis “mutually agreed to part ways” on Thursday.
The Red Bulls said in a club statement that “Curtis and the club tried to work through differing views” over the last four weeks before ultimately agreeing to separate. No replacement was named.
“I thank the New York Red Bulls for the opportunity,” Curtis said in the Red Bulls’ statement. “It was a privilege and honor to serve the fans, players and staff. I am very proud of all the work and accomplishments of our team, both on and off the field, from the youth academy, through the USL team and to the first team. I would also like to thank the families of all of the staff and players as their support helped to fuel our achievements.
“Lastly, the lifeblood of a club remains its fans, and I would be remiss if I did not thank them for their tremendous passion. The New York Metropolitan area will always be very special to me as my two children were born here, and loved cheering at Red Bull Arena. I will bring all of these good memories to my next opportunity in this great sport.”
It was reported by Metro NY’s Kristian Dyer on Jan. 31 that Curtis was no longer acting as New York’s sporting director, despite still holding the title, and that assistant coach Denis Hamlett had taken over his duties. The 38-year-old moved from a job in the MLS player department to the Red Bulls in December 2014, shocking observers by replacing popular head coach Mike Petke with Jesse Marsch in his first month in charge before assembling a roster that won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield and finished with the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference last year.
Under Curtis’ leadership, the club created USL side New York Red Bulls II, which won both the 2016 USL Shield and USL Cup. The Red Bulls also reached the quarterfinals of the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League, which they’ll begin next Wednesday when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps in the series’ first leg.
“We would like to thank Ali for his contributions to the club over the last two seasons,” the club said in their statement. “We wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.”