UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Luis Robles has a problem: The New York Red Bulls' newest acquisition is not 100 percent sure where his material possessions are.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper shipped them from Germany to California in anticipation of signing with a West Coast team upon his return to MLS. The Red Bulls, however, threw a wrench into those plans when they selected him with the 10th pick in the allocation process last Wednesday.
While moving his stuff over to the East Coast is a problematic issue that Robles will have to figure out in the coming days, the Arizona-born netminder admitted Tuesday that joining the Red Bulls after last playing for Karlsruher in the 2.Bundesliga was a welcome surprise.
Robles had been in talks with the club earlier this year about the possibility of joining them, but things fell through in the winter after it was determined he would be subject to the allocation process.
“In July, I received contact from a few different teams in MLS who wanted to bring me back because my contract was up in Germany,” Robles told reporters in his first interview as a Red Bulls player. “At that point I figured, ‘Let’s try this allocation thing.’ ... We spoke to the league and the teams that were showing interest at the time were on the West Coast.
“Up until that point, I hadn’t had much communication, if any, with Red Bull. When the allocation process started last Wednesday, two minutes later I get a call from New York that I’m going to [the Red Bulls].”
Robles, who took part in his first practice with the club on Tuesday morning, joins a team that already has three other goalkeepers. Bill Gaudette, Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo are all currently on New York’s roster and the former two are considered players capable of starting for the first team.
“Competition is always good,” said Robles, who will wear No. 31 for the Red Bulls. “It doesn’t matter what position, whether it’s goalkeeper or up top. When there’s someone that’s at a good level competing everyday against you, it’s going to bring the sharpness and best out of you.
“I look forward to not only helping the team, but helping the guys that are alongside of me. Whatever the coach’s decision is, it’s something I have to respect. It’s the kind of thing I’ve come to learn to respect in my career.”
Robles’ career has seen him play for two clubs in Germany, Karlsruher and Kaiserslautern. At those clubs, the former US national team netminder moved in and out of the starting lineups before eventually deciding to head back to the United States.
“I think it’s bittersweet,” said Robles of his time in Europe. “I’m not far enough removed from the situation to be completely reminiscent of it. I feel like it didn’t end the way that I’d hoped it to, but then again, what in life always works out the way you have planned?
“I wish I could have finished on a better note," he added. "There was just, I don’t even know how to explain it, it just wasn’t how I envisioned it. Nonetheless I got another opportunity out of it, so [I'm] looking forward to that.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.