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Red Bulls off-season plan starts to take shape

We're starting to learn how the Red Bulls plan to approach the post-Henry era.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We all knew that as soon as Thierry Henry leaving the team was announced, that big changes were coming to the New York Red Bulls, we just didn't know how wide sweeping. Franco Panzio, writing for Soccer by Ives, has a pretty good breakdown of the Red Bulls plans that have been leaked or hinted at. Here's a rundown of what Franco reported.

The club will shift it's focus to younger players. This doesn't mean they won't be hesitant to sign a Designated Player, but it has to be the right fit.

A major roster shakeup is coming. There is evidence already by the Red Bulls declining contract options for 7 players. The Red Bulls have had one of the most salary heavy teams in the league, and clearing out higher paid players will make room for improvements.

The Red Bulls will be finding a USL Pro affiliate for 2015 as per league rules. This was already known given that the Red Bulls have not created their own team as previously planned. The reasoning for why a USL Pro team wasn't created is interesting and deserves to be quoted here.

According to sources, one of the reasons for that decision was not having a grass field capable of providing a true professional experience for younger players – with bleachers for fans, proper lighting, etc. The club also wanted to have the proper setting and atmosphere in place before committing to upstarting a USL Pro side, but that wasn’t possible under the circumstances.

Back in July, the Red Bulls were approved to expand their current practice facility in Hanover, NJ. The plans called for a new grass field with lighting and stands for 700 fans. Maybe the team thought a capacity of 700 wasn't enough for a USL Pro team to have a proper atmosphere.

Red Bull ownership has stated, and it was confirmed during Don Garber's State of the League, that there is no intention to sell the team.