Welcome to the Red Bulls Round-Up presented by Once a Metro.
The great thing about this club is that there’s always a story. Somewhere something notable is happening. It’s a great responsibility to bring these knowledge nuggets to you every week. I’ve given up on maintaining any sort of relationship. Family, platonic, romantic, you name it, I’ve thrown it away to maintain a laser focus on the dogged pursuit of stories about the New York Red Bulls. What will flash before my eyes before I die? It will be a lot of nonsense, but it will be the nonsense in which I’ve chosen to submerge myself up to my eyeballs.
Here’s this week’s top story.
Did you know that Jesse Marsch was considering leaving soccer after departing the Montreal Impact? That’s one of several tidbits revealed in the former New York manager’s interview with Jeff Carlisle of ESPN. The article covers his background and struggles breaking through a perceived anti-American sentiment in European football.
When he first started in New York, Marsch didn’t believe he was the right fit for the job due to the club’s history with “superstar overspending.” However, it was that commitment to teamwork and togetherness that impressed Red Bull brass during the interview. Now he’s higher up the food chain, prepping some of the game’s brightest young talents for stardom. Of course, the supporters at his current club needed to be won over after holding up a “Nein zu Marsch” banner, which is nothing compared to a town hall meeting.
Marsch is emerging as a hot commodity in the European soccer rumor mill, so articles exploring his background and life story will only increase in frequency. As expected, Salzburg is having another season atop the Austrian Bundesliga, with an undefeated 6-0-1 record. The club has also worked its way into the third round of the Austrian Cup. Could a treble be in the future? Well, it would likely have to include the Europa League because Marsch’s side is in fourth place of Group A in the Championship League after losses against Atlético Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Red Bull Bragantino is halfway through the highly competitive Campeonato Brasileiro Série A season, and things are not going well. The club is making its first appearance in the top flight since the ownership takeover and is in 16th place with 20 points from 20 matches. With four teams being relegated, the challenge is difficult but not insurmountable, as the club could jump all the way to 13th with three points.
Manager Mauricio Barbieri spoke with ESPN, and shared his thoughts on the season. The club has been forced to contend with a compressed schedule, but was able to evolve into a team capable of consistent performances. While he’s unwilling to set a specific goal, a mid-table finish is viewed as attainable. Of course, in a display of traditional Red Bull ruthlessness, the 39-year-old publicly warned that any player not producing results will be quickly shown the door.
Bragantino is perhaps the most important and ambitious portion of the Red Bull global soccer project. The development of a South American pathway will provide the ownership group with both a source of synergy transfers and revenue from a country believed to possess the world’s deepest talent pool. There was an understanding that Bragantino would take several years to thrive with an attractive style featuring players befitting the desired profile. Would relegation alter the timelines or shift plans?
Tired of your boring job in an unfulfilling field like medicine or public interest law? Have you ever wanted to work in soccer? Consider applying for employment with the New York Red Bulls. The club has two positions open: data analyst and producer/editor.
The data analyst role with the MLS squad calls for an experienced professional, “specifically in the area of athlete identification and tracking.” It appears New York is putting a priority on player scouting, so expect new and exciting player signings in the future. As for the other position, the Content & Communications team is looking for a prospective employee to “shoot and edit videos for all platforms.”
Securing a job in the entertainment industry can be a difficult task due to the high volume of interest. Don’t let that discourage you. Shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll land among the Cedar Stars.
One former Red Bulls employee who has done well for himself is Matt Chmura. The one-time MetroStars and Red Bulls vice president of communications and new media spoke with the Yale School of Management about his career and breaking into the field of sports management. He worked with the Red Bulls from 2003 through 2006, which was an interesting time in the club’s history due to the change in ownership and identity.
The current Boston Bruins employee urges students to focus on building connections but believes there is no right path to success. Additionally, the best way to connect with the market is by attracting and appealing to young fans, something the Red Bulls have made a priority through marketing, development, and its eSports investment. Perhaps harkening back to his time at the club, Chmura shared that his dream sport to play would be soccer due to the global nature of the game.
Sometimes you have to take a risk. In an FA Cup upset, John Rooney validated the screams of every youth soccer parent demanding a player boot the ball up the field. The former Red Bull scored a wonder goal in Stockport County’s 2-1 win over Rochdale in the first round of England’s cherished competition.
Stockport is currently in second place in the National League, largely due to Rooney’s five goals. Last season, the 29-year-old played with Barrow, which secured promotion to League Two. Can the former Red Bull win the same division two years in a row?
All the young dudes carry the news, and the news is bad. There’s a developing story at RB Leipzig: the club’s academy talents may be unable to contribute to the first team. Manager Julian Nagelsmann doesn’t view every young player as possessing the necessary attitude and fire to make it as a top professional. However, he hopes to throw a few into the deep end in the hopes that they will be able to swim.
This is an ongoing problem at Leipzig, with the “ultra-modern” academy failing to produce a steady conveyor belt of first-team players. The club is forced to rely on foreign talent, such as Tyler Adams, to produce in the Bundesliga and Champions League. According to managing director Oliver Mintzlaff, there has been a failure to “elevate the junior division at the same pace” as the rest of the club.
Worry not about the failure to produce quality talents, fair Leipzig. Despite an employee’s dismissive and, frankly, rude assessment of New York’s talents, your American cousin will selflessly save you again. Unless you don’t want Caden Clark because I’m sure there are several other clubs willing to take him.
Former Red Bulls manager Juan Carlos Osorio is unemployed. Following a 3-0 loss to Millonarios, he has departed Atlético Nacional. The Professor took over the Colombian club in July of 2019 for the second time but has struggled this season. According to Antena, tactics and his conciliatory post-match comments may have encouraged the club’s board to push for his departure.
Considering his constant employment at various clubs and international teams, he’ll likely find a new job soon, although it probably won’t be in MLS as previously reported. Despite recently being linked to the vacant LA Galaxy job, it appears Osorio is not the primary candidate for the position. Fellow former Mexican national team manager Javier Aguirre has been linked with the role, appearing to be the frontrunner.
It’s always the right time to discuss Jan Halvor Halvorsen. The former Red Bulls assistant coach has Bryne FK on the cusp of promotion, sitting pretty at first place in Group 2 of the third-division Norwegian 2. divisijon. The Jærens superlag are six points ahead of second place Egersund with three matches remaining in the promotion group.
The 57-year-old was perhaps overqualified to work as an assistant in New York, turning down a similar role with West Ham United (then managed by Avram Grant) before joining MLS. Promotion fights are old hat for Halvorsen, who has enjoyed five during his long career. Despite Bryne’s recent success, the experienced manager was forced to raise his index finger following a recent victory, warning his players not to celebrate until promotion is secured.
As for the former boss, Hans Backe was connected by Nettavisen to the vacant FC Copenhagen position. In a stunning display of bad decision making, the Danish giants opted to not hire the former Red Bulls manager, who has remained a free agent and worked as a TV pundit since a brief run in charge of the Finnish national team in 2016. To be honest, he seems to have his hands full owning “superstar colt trotter” Greenshoe, a horse that recently retired to a life of leisure and siring. The Swede referred to his stallion as “one of those horses that there are only ten of each century” a claim Once a Metro is simply incapable of verifying and therefore forced to accept as indisputable truth.
What would you do if an injury prevented you from continuing to play soccer? In a twist straight out of a 90s sci-fi thriller, George Adamou turned to the virtual world, becoming one of the world’s top FIFA players. One of the Red Bulls’ two eSports athletes, the Adelphi University business student was profiled by the school’s official website.
He was a player on the college’s Division II soccer team but was forced to quit after developing “severe shin splints.” In his free time, Adamou picked up the controller and began performing well in online and in-person competitions, which attracted the attention of the Red Bulls. The 20-year-old is undecided as to whether he will stick with video games and has given himself “a year and a half to make a salary playing eMLS professionally.”
Despite being a rookie in the tournament, Adamou claimed the 2020 eMLS Cup. At a young age, he is close to accomplishing three impressive feats: rebounding from a personal setback, dominating in a competitive field, and completing a degree. Congratulations to the young virtual athlete for trailblazing on and off the electric pitch.
As expected, many former players enter into the coaching world, hopeful to share their acumen. Some choose the glory of coaching professional players, while others opt to mold a younger generation of potential stars. Former MetroStar Pablo Brenes views himself as a teacher, seeking “to implement an ideology that helps children to create a training process.” The 38-year-old spoke with Maynor Solano about his current professional life.
After retiring at 30, Brenes went back to his first love of computer science while working with the Curridabat Sports Committee and at a local school. The Costa Rican international is on the cusp of attaining his B License and greatly enjoys training children, particularly his current group of 10-to-13 year olds, believing that it is “more rewarding for all the knowledge he can impart.” Despite experiencing early success with his young charges, he stresses that everyone should pursue academics as a plan B or a background because after it ends athletes must “start from scratch in a profession.”
Brenes played with the MetroStars during the 2004 season, making 16 total appearances. He was selected by Real Salt Lake in the ensuing expansion draft but never appeared for the Utah club, in a triumphant demonstration of that player acquisition method’s utility. The midfielder/winger earned 11 caps with the Costa Rican national team but appears to have found his true calling after retirement.
From the coaching ranks to the playing fields, there’s a MetroStar still playing professional soccer, and he was on that same 2004 squad. One of the remaining wearers of the club’s previous crest is Joselito Vaca, currently plying his trade with Club Social, Cultural y Deportivo Blooming of the Bolivian Primera División. The 38-year-old midfielder has made 10 appearances this season, including two in the Copa Sudamericana against Emelec.
Vaca played one season with the MetroStars after being acquired from the Dallas Burn. He made 22 appearances, contributing a paltry single goal and assist, and then returned to Bolivia. However, the Santa Cruz native continues plugging along, serving as Blooming’s captain. Unlike most of us, he managed to neither gain nor lose a single pound during quarantine, stressing that he “did not neglect preparation as well as good nutrition.”
However, there might be some recent issues afoot. According to Nuevo Sur, players claim to have not received payment since June. Vaca warned that “some teammates don’t have enough to eat.” However, the club is “taking steps to pay salaries.” He did appear in a recent friendly, so it appears the situation is somewhat resolved or, at the very least, conciliatory.
Most players would have retired by now, unwilling to continue the fight and meet the physical demands of professional sports. That is why figures like Vaca must be celebrated for pushing themselves and dealing with both on- and off-field issues. On a quiet day in the future, the last MetroStar will retire, garnering little fanfare or attention outside of lightly trafficked blogs, social media, and message boards.
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Amelia of Cranford.
“What we do in life, echoes in eternity… or at least Bolivia.”
Thank you, Amelia. You have a way of making the bleakest nights break through to the brightest mornings.
Do you have a story you’d like to submit to the Weekly News Bulletin? Email us at bencorkOAM@gmail.com or send a DM to @Once_A_Metro on Twitter.