HARRISON, N.J. – Luke Rodgers might no longer be a member of the New York Red Bulls, but that does not mean he won’t be in the future.
At least, not if the Red Bulls have their way.
A day after the club announced it had terminated Rodgers’ contract due to the denial of his P1 visa, general manager Erik Solér discussed why the decision was made and how the Red Bulls will continue to work to bring Rodgers back.
“Obviously, it’s a matter between Luke and the government,” Solér told media before the Red Bulls’ game vs. the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon. “I can’t go into any details, but what I can say is we are not very happy, but we respect the fact that there is a system in place that makes decisions. We are not giving up, so we continue to try.”
Solér also revealed that the Red Bulls talked to Canadian clubs about sending Rodgers there, but New York ultimately decided against that.
In the end, the Red Bulls cut their ties with Rodgers, which allowed him to sign with Norwegian club Lillestrom on a free transfer.
“It was very important for everybody, especially for Luke, to play some soccer now,” Solér said. “His last game was in November, and we were very happy on the last day of the transfer window in Scandinavia to get him a club so he can play. We’ll see if we are able, which we hope, to bring him back to the US at a later state.”
Solér would not go into details about what was different this year. In 2011, Rodgers was approved of a visa to play in the United States.
“We don’t make the decisions so it’s hard for me to say exactly what was different,” Solér said. “It went well last year and we all know he had a great year here without any incidences.”
If the Red Bulls do get Rodgers back at any point this season, they would likely have to pay a transfer fee, despite them still owning his MLS rights.
“We are open to do what’s needed to bring Luke back,” Solér said. “We hope that we can get him back without paying anything, but time will show.”
As for now, the Red Bulls are looking at options both domestically and abroad and have until April 15 to sign someone before the MLS transfer window closes until the summer.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.