On Tuesday New York Red Bulls announced the hiring of Bernd Eibler as an assistant coach. The 26-year-old native of Wiener Neustadt, Austria had been working as a video analyst and assistant coach with SV Mattersburg before the Austrian first division club folded in August of this year due to financial difficulty.
Though Eibler has never directly worked with newly-hired Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber, the club statement indicates the two have been acquainted for several years. They share backgrounds as low-level players who quickly worked their way from entry level coaching badges and amateur management roles to the pinnacle of the Austrian professional scene.
After a low-level playing career in which he did not participate in any professional setup as a youth, Eibler entered the coaching profession in his late teens and early 20s in youth coaching roles with local amateur clubs including SV Rohrbach, SV Sigleß, and First Vienna. It was with third division side Sigleß that Eibler began to see his star rise under the mentorship of manager Christoph Stifter. Following Stifter’s departure from the head role in late 2016, Eibler took over as caretaker for three matches and first flexed the technocratic muscle Red Bull values so much by motivating the team with a PowerPoint presentation.
During this time Eibler also held a role in the academy of professional club Admira Wacker and, like many self-made young coaches, conducted his own individual technical clinics along with mentor Stifter. In 2018 Eibler was hired by the Austrian government to promote women’s football by operating a system of training clinics and regional tournaments for schoolgirls and also began doing video analysis work with the girls’ under-17 national team.
Eibler earned his A license from the UEFA coaching program two years ago while working as a video analyst with first division TSV Hartberg, where his boss and mentor was former New York Red Bull Markus Schopp. In 2019 he was hired for a video role that also included on-field coaching responsibilities for fellow first division battlers Mattersburg before their aforementioned demise earlier this summer that left him available to Struber and the Red Bulls.
The quick rise into the demanding world of professional coaching has not been without its drawbacks for Eibler, who admits that his career made keeping a steady girlfriend impossible. In an additional personal note, Eibler is a childhood friend of Dominic Thiem, the Austrian tennis star who New York fans may remember from when he wore a Red Bulls jersey while playing in the US Open at Flushing last year.
Given Gerhard Struber’s history of working with large staffs of his selection, it is unlikely that Eibler will be the last addition to the bench corps at Red Bull Arena this autumn. Eibler will likely require the same level of paperwork and pandemic precaution that is currently delaying Struber’s full installation in the team, but his hiring places increased scrutiny on the eventual role of Bradley Carnell, the current interim coach. Despite Carnell’s pedigree as a World Cup participant and Bundesliga student of Ralf Rangnick, the hiring of a figure like Bernd Eibler is an even further foray from Red Bull into the promotion of the most ambitious and innovative minds of the amateur soccer scene. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an insurance salesman, a blogger, or a video editor who wasn’t alive yet when Major League Soccer was founded - if you understand football and understand people, they’ll find a role for you.