The New York Red Bulls are seemingly in no hurry to appoint a new head coach.
A day before the Red Bulls travel to Bradenton, Fla., to begin their first preseason camp of 2013, sporting director Andy Roxburgh and interim head coach Mike Petke spoke to media about their ongoing search for a coach and their plans heading into this preseason on Monday. What was learned wasn’t much, as Roxburgh and Petke kept their cards close to the vest, especially when it came to naming Hans Backe’s successor.
“We’ve been talking to a number of people, a lot with really interesting backgrounds and we’re still in discussions,” Roxburgh told reporters. “We appreciate the fans’ patience, but we don’t want to rush to judgement here. There will be an announcement soon about it.”
Roxburgh said the same during his initial press conference back in November. Since then, several names have come up, including former Queens Park Rangers manager Paulo Sousa and English manager Gary McAllister.
However, no one has been hired yet, and New York are still without a head coach, a strange enough situation at the recent MLS SuperDraft and stranger still as they head into preseason with the 2013 MLS season is barely a month away. But Roxburgh insists that the Red Bulls will be fully prepared for their season opener at the Portland Timbers on March 3.
“Right now, we’re well organized with a great backroom staff and we’re well organized to start preseason training tomorrow,” said Roxburgh. “Obviously, we’ll be trying to do everything to settle the coaching situation very quickly. We have been trying to do that, of course, with lengthy discussions but right now we’re focused on getting away tomorrow.
“We’ll continue the discussions and as soon as we’re ready with a name, we’ll let you know.”
The Red Bulls also would not reveal which free-agent players have been invited to the upcoming preseason pit stop in Florida, though sources have confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that center backs Tyler Ruthven and Toni Stahl will trial with the team. What New York did reveal is that their approach to bringing in trialists this preseason would differ from years past.
“We have a small group of players not signed that we would like to come and have a look at,” said Petke, who will guide the Red Bulls’ preseason camp in Bradenton. “It’s very different from years past, even going back to when I played, having 30-35 players in and having a look at all of them and slowly [cutting] down.
“We went in with the mindset that less is more for us. We wanted to start moving the team right from Day 1 as far as attitude and getting these guys together. Only a select few are coming in and these are players that whether they’re ultimately signed or not, it’s something we’re going to see in the next week.”
While the Red Bulls kept relatively mum on most subjects, they did disclose that slight organizational changes have been made to their medical staff after an injury-plagued 2012 and that an addition or two could be made to the coaching staff in the coming days.
New York also said that they are looking at all possible avenues to further bolster their roster ahead of the upcoming season, including potentially signing a third Designated Player or Philadelphia Union midfielder Freddy Adu, who has been put on the trading block.
“Freddy’s name has been brought up just like any other player would be brought up,” said Petke. “Right now, we’re very comfortable with what we have and the trialists coming in. However, we’re always looking to improve the team, so we’ll look at that and talk amongst ourselves within the next week or so.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.