The New York Red Bulls' new sporting director Ali Curtis has put plenty of thought into how he wants to run the sporting side of the team.
"I've got this 300 page business plan that starts with my vision, philosophy, identity, types of style of play," he said in his "Get to Know the New Sporting Director, Ali Curtis" introduction video, posted shortly after he was hired to the position vacated by Andy Roxburgh after the 2014 season.
But theory -- the kind of thing you draw up in a 300 page plan -- and practice -- actually occupying the corner office and calling the shots -- are two totally different things, and Curtis is going to have to prove he's up to the practical task, and fast.
Not only do the Red Bulls need to shore up their defense, sort out Tim Cahill's situation, figure out the midfield and get some striker depth, they also have to replace Robin Fraser, who has recently decamped to Toronto FC to reunite with Greg Vanney.
Oh, and he's got to hire guys to run the Red Bulls' nascent USL side and fill out that roster.
Not to mention, he's supposedly working on finalizing a few more homegrown signings.
This isn't to insinuate that Curtis isn't up to the task, but it's an immediate test of his abilities. He fails at this stuff, and it completely justifies his one-year deal (given to him as part of an apparent one-year deal policy, which ended up chasing Fraser up north).
But if he passes this early test, he'd better be kept around. But it won't be easy.
Head Coach Mike Petke is still in need of some mentoring, so a veteran coach with some tactical chops is still a necessity.
As for the USL team, even if he promotes John Wolyniiec, the current reserves head coach, to run Red Bulls II (Red Bull Juniors? Red Bull Hanover?) Curtis will likely have to find another staffer for the senior team. If not, the search is on to find somebody who can develop talent and coach first and manage second. Not the easiest task in the world.
As for the roster, that shouldn't be terribly hard to figure out, what with the New York area's wealth of soccer talent and the Red Bulls' academy strength. However, those players still need to be signed, and scouting players and inking deals still takes time and can't be rigged up with chewing gum and toothpicks.
Three different jobs, three completely different tasks.
Have fun, Ali.