When the New York Post's Brian Lewis tweets, RBNY fans listen. He's covered the team for...a while, and if he has ever publicly made a statement about the club that wasn't well sourced, I cannot remember it. So when Lewis says Dane Richards is coming back to the New York Red Bulls...
...Dane Richards is coming back to the New York Red Bulls! (As subsequently confirmed by the club.)
Richards first stint with RBNY started in 2007. The club drafted him out of Clemson, with its first pick of the 2007 SuperDraft (19th overall). Incidentally, the same year a goalkeeper named Luis Robles was drafted 50th by D.C. United.
The Jamaican stuck with the club until July 2012, when RBNY decided to cut its losses on a player who had made it clear he intended to try his luck in Europe when his contract expired. Sebastien Le Toux arrived in his stead, and contributed little to the cause. Richards, for his part, bounced out of Vancouver at the end of 2012 and joined Burnley, in England's second tier at the time.
Things didn't work out so well in England for him, but he landed in Norway and helped Bodo-Glimt through a couple of good seasons, during which time the club was promoted to the Norwegian top flight. (He was working for former RBNY assistant coach, Jan Halvor Halvorsen.)
Last time we saw Richards, he was a blazing fast right winger. Those two aspects of his game - speed and being a right winger - were pretty consistent. The rest, not so much. But on his day he was one of the more dangerous wide men in MLS.
Rarely out of the first team in five and a half seasons with RBNY, Richards ranks fourth on the club's all-time appearances list (163 games played) and second for all-time competitive minutes (13087). He has scored 23 goals for the Red Bulls (joint 10th all time), and provided 30 assists (fourth on the all-time list).
Arguably his best game for the Red Bulls arrived in 2008, when Richards led the team to an unexpected 3-0 winover the Dynamo in Houston in the playoffs, en route to the club's first - to date, only - MLS Cup final appearance.
He can play up front, as he did for the last game of the 2011 season, when he paired with Luke Rodgers as possibly the shortest forward pairing RBNY has ever sent out. He scored the match-winner. With his head.
So there's more to Dane Richards than just racing down the right flank. He's 31 (he'll turn 32 in December), so it is fair to expect he may rely less on pace these days. But he is experienced, capable of doing a job pretty much anywhere in the attacking third (as long as you're not expecting too much to happen with his left foot), and he's back to add to his already significant contribution to the history of this club.
Welcome back, Dane!