Last night, in front of 300 season ticket holders, Ali Curtis, Jesse Marsch, Marc de Grandpre, and Luis Robles answered questions for a hour and a half about the state of the New York Red Bulls. You can listen to the audio the team posted, or you can read the summary below. If you have a lot of time, you can do both.
- This town hall involved no media, and was "off the record", despite a recording being put out by the Red Bulls.
- As reported by us earlier, the team will have a USL Pro team "next year".
The first question was direct about why fan favorite Mike Petke was let go. Curtis said his plan encompasses a new approach for the team from the youth teams all the way up to the senior team, and that Marsch is better suited for that approach.
- When pressed later on about why Petke didn't fit, the answer was that in the last two years, the Red Bulls were not a uptempo/high energy team. Marsch also has more experience and is better suited to fit the nature of the plan of aligning all levels of the organization.
- Someone asked how long does Jesse Marsch have to win a MLS Cup before he is fired, given that Petke was fired after the two best years in team history. Curtis said that MLS Cup is always the goal and that is not changed in 2015, but didn't really address the question in a concrete way.
- Another person asked about refunds for his season tickets, which many people have complained about not getting since the Petke news broke. The no refund policy is apparently similar to most New York sport teams' policies and will not be changed.
- Someone asked how long will it take for the infamous 300 page plan to be implemented. Curtis responded by saying that they have already started, but that they can't accomplish everything inside of one year, but that the focus is on the club first, not any individuals.
- Someone asked Luis Robles about the departed coach but he gave a non-committal answer, saying that the team is ready to start training camp.
- Marsch loves the passion of the fans, despite the negative energy. He's not here to take the team 180 degrees. The energy drink comment, while he apologized for it, was meant to be about a high tempo style of play.
- The team has to shift from a few superstars to a team of players will give 100% (aka "Blue Collar" players) for everyone.
- Marsch feels that for the first time ever, there is a collection of competent leadership in the organization.
"For the first time, I think there are people, this isn't an implication on any one individual, but for the first time, I feel like there is a collective of leadership in this organization of competence and hard work ethic." - Jesse Marsch
- On Altidore: the team was so far down the allocation, that they would have to "mortgage" the future, and the financials didn't make sense. They were interested, but they weren't willing to sell the farm to get him, especially when they have Bradley Wright-Phillips.
- The head of the Red Bull academy was brought down to the MLS Combine for the first time every this year. The example was part of a response about how they want to get all parts of the organization on the same page.
- Marsch is amazed at the resources available to the club, and said it's the most well off club he's been at in North America, but the resources don't really work well, and part of the plan is to work on it.
- Robles found out about the Petke was fired rumor through a combination of text messages from teammates and then Googling the news. Curtis drove down to Petke's home to discuss the decision, saying he deserved a face to face meeting. Petke has a position with the club when he's ready to return according to Curtis.
- The leak of the Petke was not the fault of the Red Bulls and they didn't want to handle things the way they did. The team did not want the news to come out the way it did, and plan to work better on controlling news in the future.
"We want to develop players, we want to provide a healthy player development platform, so that when the players gets 22. One, we hope that we'll provide an option for him to play in the USL Pro team, if he can't play in the USL Pro team or the first team, hopefully he can go get a college scholarship. That's our goal." - Ali Curtis
- The Red Bulls drafted Leo Stolz based on discussions that he would sign a contract, and his signing is expected within 24-48 hours (Sunday).
- A hard discussion with Cahill is needed, but Marsch doesn't know if he really wants to stay. If Cahill stays, it needs to be because he wants to be here, not just for a paycheck.
- Ali Curtis never talked to any other coach aside from Marsch as Petke's replacement. It was rumored he talked to LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and others.
- Matt Miazga will get opportunities under Marsch to play.
"For a team owned by a beverage company, the food and beverage lines are preposterous." -Fan
- On taking other competitions seriously, Marsch will make sure the players know how important they are. However, he has to take everything into account, not just the next game.
- About money ball mentality, Curtis says analytics is just a data point, not the be all, end all of how the squad will be determined. They will take more factors into account to make the best decisions possible.
- Curtis: Allocation money allows you to have an increased salary budget. Someone asked.
- Marsch: It's not my job to talk about Petke, my job is to work with this team.
- Curtis: the owner is absolutely invested in this club.
After about 45-50 minutes, a lot of the questions and answers were repeats, just with different wording. There was a vocal set of fans who were loud for the first 10-15 minutes, but quieted down for the most part after that. There was some cursing as evidenced by a lot of bleeping of audio, especially early on. Luis Robles wasn't called on to speak as much after the first half hour since most of the questions were directed to either Curtis, Marsch, or de Grandpre.