Luke Woodland - formerly of Bolton Wanderers and England's youth teams; currently without a club and a Philippines international - is in town for a quick trial with the New York Red Bulls. He is expected to join his national team for World Cup qualifying on September 6, and he reportedly joined the RBNY set-up on Sunday, August 30.
So he doesn't have much time to make his case. A report from BigAppleSoccer.com's Kristian Dyer relays lukewarm comments from RBNY head coach:
I think he's done OK. We find that anytime someone gets thrown into our training, it is a lot. There's a little adjustment period.
That was in the context of Woodland's first session with the first team on September 2. Marsch is not kidding about the adjustment period to RBNY training. The team has tended to allow trialists considerable time in camp before signing them.
Dane Richards, Kemar Lawrence, and Anthony Wallace popped up in preseason training in mid-February. Richards was signed within about three weeks, Lawrence was picked up four weeks after his trial was announced, and Wallace waited nearly six weeks.
It took about six weeks for Shaun Wright-Phillips to land a deal with RBNY. Currently, the Red Bulls have Junior Flemmings, a young Jamaican attacking player, in training - he's been trialing for just over two weeks.
Every player is different and contracts can take a while to sort out. But in 2015, RBNY seems inclined to take its time over decisions regarding trialists. And part of that may be the belief - hinted at in Marsch's comment about Woodland - that players need time to adjust to the team's training methods.
On the face of it, it doesn't look good for Woodland. He has about a week to impress a team that generally seems to want longer than that to make decisions. Also, per another report by Kristian Dyer for BigAppleSoccer.com, the team can't sign Woodland right now, unless he is a US citizen or resident: there are no international roster spots left for RBNY at either MLS or USL level.
So the Red Bulls flew a guy in for a five-day trial when they usually want a couple of weeks at least for evaluation and they don't have the ability to sign foreign players anyway. Why bother?
Perhaps because the intention is not to sign Woodland right now. If he returns to RBNY training some time in the future, we'll know the current stint went well.