Less than a week before the 2017 MLS season begins, the New York Red Bulls found a new sporting director.
On Tuesday morning, the club announced that Denis Hamlett had been hired to fill the role left vacant after the Red Bulls and Ali Curtis agreed to mutually part ways two weeks ago.
Hamlett will oversee all aspects of the New York Red Bulls sporting operations, which includes player acquisitions, scouting/support staffs and the soccer operations budget. He will also oversee the Red Bulls player development model, which includes New York Red Bulls II, the Under-23 team and Red Bulls Academy.
"Denis has vast experience in Major League Soccer and an excellent understanding of our global philosophy," said Red Bull Head of Global Soccer Oliver Mintzlaff in a statement. "We are confident that Denis has the vision to further our goal of winning MLS Cup."
Hamlett, a native of Costa Rica, has nearly 20 years of coaching experience, which includes two years with the Red Bulls serving as top assistant to Jesse Marsch (2015-16) and two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Fire ('07-08), where he led the club to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
Hamlett was an original MLS player, playing 31 games with the Colorado Rapids in the inaugural 1996 season before retiring. He then spent much of the next decade as an assistant coach with the Fire. He also worked as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps (2011) and the Montreal Impact (2012-13).
He inherits a Red Bulls team that has finished the regular season atop the Eastern Conference in three of the last four seasons, including the last two. They play the Vancouver Whitecaps in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals on Thursday (10pm ET; UDN) before beginning MLS play in Atlanta on Sunday (7:30pm ET; FS1).