The remake of the New York Red Bulls goalkeeping corps could be in for another twist.
Karlsruher SC’s American goalkeeper Luis Robles, who has spent the last five seasons in the Bundesliga second division, will be traveling to New York this Friday in the hope of reaching a contractual agreement with the Red Bulls, a move that was rumored for the first time last week.
“We have been talking and I’ll be flying to New York on Friday,” Robles told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday via phone from Germany. “Nothing’s for certain or guaranteed, but the opportunity is really enticing.”
Said Red Bulls sporting director and general manager Erik Solér in a club statement: “He’s arriving on Friday and we’re looking forward to seeing him in training camp."
It’s not yet clear whether Robles will train with the club, pending the discussions that are set to take place on Friday.
The 27-year-old Robles is still under contract with 2.Bundesliga club Karlsruher SC, but the German side has granted him the opportunity to exit after it became clear over the most recent Christmas holidays that the Arizona native would be seeking other opportunities when his contract expired this summer.
Under his sixth head coach in just a year-and-a-half with the relegation candidates, Robles has experienced an unsettling stay which came after a positive three-year spell at FC Kaiserslautern.
“I’m in a situation where it’s not really ideal,” said Robles, who was on the US national team squads at the 2009 Gold Cup and 2009 Confederations Cup. “I’m on the outside looking in and that always happens when there are so many coaching changes in a season. … They did say that they’d let me go if I wanted to go somewhere and I appreciate they did give me that opportunity.”
Momentarily resigned to waiting for the summer to make another switch inside Germany, Robles wasn’t necessarily seeking a return to the USA. But he immediately took notice when the opportunity arose with the Red Bulls, who also have goalkeepers Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo under contract.
The MLS league office confirmed that Robles could be acquired by an MLS club as a “discovery” signing. The fact that the ‘keeper is not a US youth international and is not currently in the US national team player pool means the allocation and lottery mechanisms would not apply in his case.
Robles was the 50th overall selection by D.C. United in the 2007 SuperDraft but departed to Germany the day after being drafted and signed with Kaiserslautern three days later. The talks with the Red Bulls represent Robles’ first formal contact with an MLS team.
“Deep down, we’re really excited about the opportunity, but we want to be careful about how we approach it,” Robles said. “I’ll come in, I’ll meet the team, I’ll meet the coaches and the staff and then we’re going to go from there. … But going into this organization would be an incredible way to come back to America.”