clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Reports: Philippines international Luke Woodland still on New York Red Bulls' radar

He is gone from RBNY training, but not forgotten.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Woodland's trial with the New York Red Bulls was unusually short by the club's recent standards. Not because the former Bolton Wanderers and England international youth player did anything wrong, but because he arrived on trial less than a week before he was required for national team duty.

Woodland switched his international allegiance from England to the Philippines earlier this year, joining (former MetroStar) Thomas Dooley's squad for what was a successful start to the second round of AFC World Cup qualifying: two wins in its first two games.

The Philippines' third qualifying match, however, was against Uzbekistan - one of the favorites in the group. Despite arriving from New York just a couple of days before the game, Woodland was handed a start. The match did not go well for the Azkals: they were down a goal after one minute; it was 4-0 to the visiting Uzbeks before the Philippines found a goal of their own; the final score was 5-1 to the favorites.

Still, the top two teams in the group will progress to the next round. The Azkals' effort to advance to the next stage of qualifying is far from over.

Also not over, according to comments from RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch: Woodland's trial with the Red Bulls. Per Big Apple Soccer (and Empire of Soccer):

We're looking into the possibility of him coming back after his international responsibilities are done

Woodland doesn't have another international qualifier until October 8, when he will likely be in the Philippines squad to play North Korea in Pyongyang. Is he going to squeeze in some more time training with RBNY in the interim? Perhaps. Marsch could equally be thinking of late-January/early-February, when the Red Bulls will be in preseason.

The club has already reportedly made an arrangement with former trialist Hassan Ndam to meet again this winter. It sounds as though a similar plan may be in place for Junior Flemmings, the young Jamaican who has spent a few weeks in training with RBNY.

Both those players - and, one suspects, Woodland - may have found their immediate chance of signing a contract with the Red Bulls stymied by the fact the club reportedly has no available roster spots for international players in either its MLS or USL squads.

But RBNY does appear to be making an early start to planning the squads for 2016, and it seems inclined to keep the door open for a number of young international players who might yet win a roster spot once the inevitable off-season adjustments to the pro squads are made.

Pencil in Woodland's name alongside those of Ndam and Flemmings as one we may see again.