When news broke last week that New York Red Bulls' Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh would be out come season's end there was no shortage of concern about the team's future. When Empire of Soccer corroborated the report, it only intensified the anxiety.
But today, Big Apple Soccer reports that Ali Curtis, a former MLS player and current league office employee, is being considered as a successor. The news should take a little bit of the sting out of Roxburgh's departure.
Why? Curtis, a former Hermann Trophy winner who fizzled in the pros, is exactly the sort of executive fans have been clamoring for.
Curtis would be the kind of hire that brings in-depth knowledge of the league, it's salary cap and it's player acquisition mechanisms to the Red Bulls front office. He'd be an insider, not an outsider. He's a guy who came up through American soccer during the modern era's infancy and was working in the league office during the implementation and expansion of the designated player rule, the rise of the academies and the USL partnership. He's not Erik Soler -- thank God -- or even Roxburgh, who, for all his willingness to learn the ins and outs of MLS, still had to learn the ins and outs of MLS. It'd be akin to Toronto FC's hire of Tim Bezbatchenko. The two even ran a workshop on MLS and it's byzantine roster rules at the 2013 NSCAA Convention.
Like Bezbatchenko, hiring Curtis wouldn't be a cure-all for what ails the Red Bulls. One year into his tenure at TFC, not much has changed and that team is still a tire fire, but if the Red Bulls can put the right people around Curtis, it could be a good move.