Welcome to the Red Bulls Round-Up presented by Once a Metro.
I’m only now realizing that next week’s Round-Up might be released on Christmas Day. What a gift for all of you, to open your phones and computers and have the privilege to read Red Bulls stories and information collected from across the internet. “What will you give me in return?” I wonder. Sure, a click, some praise, and perhaps a share on social media would be nice, but I also accept money.
Here’s this week’s top story.
Only 21 and he already owns a soccer team. The Hudson Valley Hammers will begin play in the spring of 2021 under the ownership of former New York Red Bull and current star Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams. The club has yet to identify a home field, but there are plenty of local high schools and colleges from which to choose.
The team will play in the fifth-tier United Premier Soccer League, a national amateur confederation of over 300 clubs. The club is soliciting for interested players, who can fill out an online form via Google Docs. The lower leagues can always use more teams in underserved areas, with the Hammers providing a chance for more talents to grow and develop.
Another week yields another Omar Sowe profile. The New York Red Bulls II attacker spoke with Jim Hague of The Observer, adding to what becomes an almost unprecedented and wholly deserved amount of attention for a reserve team player. He discussed the hectic nature of the most recent season and his hopes for the future.
During the coronavirus quarantine, Sowe “did a lot of yoga” to “maintain [his] body.” He also had plenty of praise for Red Bulls II manager John Wolyniec. “He’s a major part of my journey,” said the 20-year-old native of The Gambia. “He knows what it takes, having been a Red Bull forward. He’s really helped me a lot. He gives me little tips and then points them out to me. He’s taught me little things, like what to do in the box.”
Preparation for the next USL season has already begun, albeit from the safety of home. Sowe is focused on next season and is focused on putting in “a little more work.” A first-team debut, which appears on the horizon, would be “a dream come true.”
How about another Red Bulls II interview? Forward Jake LaCava spoke with OneGoal, discussing why he moved to the club and his opinion on the debut season. As should be no surprise, a key reason for signing was former Barça Academy and current New York Academy director Sean McCafferty. The other was a preference for the high press and vertical attack.
“I wanted to sign with Red Bull,” said LaCava. “I love their style of play. I think it suits me well. We are a pressing team, but when we win the ball back, we are all about being fluid in transition… I am strong, I am fast, and I like the 2v1 situations we tend to get ourselves in.”
According to this interview, McCafferty deployed a similar high pressing style in Arizona with Barça. After adapting “to the speed and the physicality” of USL, LaCava had a solid year with Red Bulls II. After scoring five goals in 15 appearances, he was one of only two reserve players retained by the team.
Venezuelan media outlet Balonazos went deep on Cristián Cásseres, diving into his youth career and interviewing several figures from his past. The Red Bull was considered a “phenomenon” from a young age, impressing coaches with his intelligent play. Although his father wanted him deployed as a striker, manager Luigi Celli envisioned future success as a “containment midfielder” or an 8 due to “ball control and intensity in duels.” The switch presented a challenge with increased physical demands and group defending, one that was eventually overcome through natural ability and hard work.
The move to New York was made with the intention that he would grow into a more “complete player,” capable of contributing on both sides of the ball. There was an expectation former striker Cásseres would contribute more in the attacking third, however that part of his game is still waiting to fully emerge at the professional level. According to his former coach Francisco Velásquez, the 20-year-old has yet to reach even half of his potential which should delight fans at both the club and international level. Perhaps new leadership will allow for him to thrive, as new manager Gerhard Struber has a preference for versatile central midfielders that cover the entire field and contribute in the build-up and final third.
Here’s a story that was submitted to the Round-Up by Juan from Greater Oakland.
RB Bragantino fullback Luan Cândido scored his first career goal in a 2-1 victory over Fortaleza. It seems to have been by the grace and charity of the scorekeeper that credit fell on the 19-year-old, but they all count. He is currently on loan from RB Leipzig, with whom he signed in 2019 for eight million euros.
While waiting for the initial move to Europe in between transfer periods, Cândido spent some time with New York. “My training period in New York was very good,” he told Globo Esporte. “I made new friends. The club is excellent.”
Now back in Brazil, the Visconde do Rio Branco native is helping Bragantino rocket up the standings. Once mired in the muck of the relegation zone, the Massa Bruta (Brutal Mass) has risen to solid mid-table status with 31 points from 25 matches. If the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A season were to end today, the club would qualify for the next Copa Sudamericana, a far cry from the original belief that continental football and general security would be in the range of three-to-five years.
According to Nicholas Murray of USLSoccer.com, two players have scored in both the USL and MLS Cup finals. They are former manager Chris Armas and 2016 Homegrown signing Derrick Etienne Jr., now of the Columbus Crew. The former achieved the feat with the Long Island Rough Riders in 1995 and the LA Galaxy in 1996. The latter found the back of the net in New York Red Bulls II’s 2016 triumph and in the recent championship victory over the Seattle Sounders.
Surely this fact will be a future clue for the games of “American Soccer Jeopardy!” in which we all take part with our friends and families.
Borussia Dortmund said sayonara to manager Lucien Favre, opening up (relatively speaking) one of the biggest jobs in world football. The rumor-and-speculation mill threw out a few names including former New York manager Jesse Marsch. The 47-year-old is a popular and intriguing option, raising eyebrows with an Austrian Bundesliga title and a rousing, motivational halftime speech.
For now, you can put that discussion on the back-burner because he’s very busy. “We already talked about this topic last year, then maybe again in the summer,” Marsch told Sky Sports (via Goal). “Now my work is here in Salzburg. I don’t have time to think about what will happen to other clubs.”
Dortmund could do far worse, but the move would still be something of a gamble on an unproven quantity. Marsch has rolled through the Red Bull organization, managing New York from 2015 through 2018, assisting Leipzig for a year, and assuming the Salzburg gig in 2019. He’s been okay, meeting the baseline expectation of the league and cup double but failing to elevate the bar in continental competitions while dealing with the routine loss of key players. Right now, the club is gearing up for a Europa League campaign and engaged in the usual mid-season Bundesliga battle before eventually pulling away.
The “Wheel of Retirement News” occasionally lands on an interesting gig. St. Louis CNR (“The voice for the St. Louis construction industry for over 40 years”) reported that former Red Bull Brandon Barklage was named Sales & Estimating Manager at Castle Stone Products. The company based in St. Louis provides and installs stone veneers for interior and exterior use.
Barklage “brings a qualified perspective” to the new role due to his background working for a masonry contractor. The 34-year-old played for the Red Bulls in 2012 and the Supporters’ Shield winning 2013 season before moving to the San Jose Earthquakes. He is perhaps best known for his superlative-defying brace in a 3-2 win over D.C. United, which is one of the most raucous and energetic matches in the history of Red Bull Arena.
Things were going very well for Josh Sims in Doncaster, then they were mediocre, and then they were okay again, but now they’re bad.
Sims had a productive start to his loan at Doncaster Rovers, banging in goals and dishing out assists. What followed was a bit of a lull in the midst of solid league and cup results, but he eventually resumed contributing to the stat sheet. Despite thriving in South Yorkshire, Southampton has all but decided the 23-year-old will not stay at his current destination due to transfer interest from “a cluster of clubs” in the Championship and Premier League.
Complicating the immediate future is a hamstring injury sustained in a recent match against Swindon Town. Word came down that Sims will be out for six weeks which should see out his time at the Keepmoat in a most anticlimactic fashion. The loan was successful for both team and player, and it’s a shame the party won’t continue. Maybe a return to the New York Red Bulls is in the ca-... haha, no, no, I’m just kidding.
Fordham University named the 25th Anniversary men’s soccer team and it is full of current and former Red Bulls. Goalkeeper Ryan Meara was a four-year starter for the Rams, earning several accolades and holding career school records for appearances in goal, goals against average, and shutouts. Red Bulls II manager John Wolyniec is an obvious inclusion as the university’s all-time leading scorer and two-time All-American. Former U-23s and reserve team players Rashid Nuhu and János Löbe were also honored. The two recently completed seasons with USL sides Union Omaha and Miami FC, respectively.
Remember Juan Forchetti? Of course you do. The Argentine defender joined Bob Bradley’s MetroStars on loan from Boca Juniors in 2003, made 11 appearances and… that’s about it. At the time, general manager Nick Sakiewicz stated that the loan “marked the first step in what is going to be a broad relationship” with the South American giants.
Forchetti recently spoke with La Voz del Pueblo about his career, even discussing his brief time in MLS. He endeavored to “learn as much as possible” and truly enjoyed his ten months at the club even though it “went by very quickly.” Unfortunately, the Tres Arroyos native did not manage to break through on his return to Boca but played at a few other clubs before retiring.
After working as a youth coach, Forchetti has found his new calling in the field of Chinese medicine. “I use a method called ‘alchemical breathing’ where there is an energy map of the body and the body is divided into fragments,” he shared. “We apply the breath to be able to internally unite the parts of the body… I work from physical, living, organic development, from breathing so that you have healthy intestines, open the lungs, and that what it does is that it leads you to be a bit more yourself.”
One-time Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill appeared on The Greatest Game podcast hosted by former Merseyside derby rival (and Midtown Manhattan bar namesake) Jamie Carragher. On the episode, the retired Australian discussed why the first professional contract was his greatest achievement, his club career, and what it was like leading Australia. He even discussed how he managed to annoy his famously mercurial teammate while in MLS.
“In training with the New York Red Bulls, it was a time I was playing with Thierry Henry,” remembered Cahill. “He always used to get upset with me for kicking balls and shooting and whacking them everywhere. He sent me a message after that goal [in the 2014 World Cup against Holland].”
Of course, his “ultimate five-a-side team” would contain the Arsenal and Barcelona legend who he described as “demanding.” Cahill says the key to playing with high-level players like Henry is “giving them the ball and holding them accountable too.” The 41-year-old even claims this hypothetical group would feature none other than Rafa Márquez as a defender because “he played in the biggest games in the world,” “the way he manages the game,” and “leadership” which greatly influenced his later Socceroos career.
The whole interview is worth a listen, particularly when he discusses his competitive relationship, drinking coffees, and playing board games with Henry. While some may have forgotten or downplayed Cahill’s impact on the club, he was a key figure during the 2013 Supporters’ Shield campaign. It’s doubtful the Red Bulls claim that first silverware without his 11 goals.
Is that… Gideon Baah? Yes, the Ghanaian international is apparently training with local clinic provider Soccer Virtuoso. The company is owned by former Red Bulls youth player Sammy Adjei.
Since leaving the Red Bulls in 2017, Baah has truly been there and back again. Well, not quite, but he has played for teams in Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Finland. The 29-year-old Accra native was most recently with Shakhter Karagandy, which finished in fourth place in the Kazakhstan Premier League and qualified for a spot in the third-tier Europa Conference League.
Will Baah be back with Шахтерлер (The Miners) next season? A request for comment (I tweeted at him) went unanswered.
Honduras was devastated by the landfall of two hurricanes, Eta and Iota, in the space of ten days. The country continues to deal with the fallout, with many areas still flooded. It’s at times like these where many choose to step up and help their fellow man, hoping to ease the burden caused by random natural disaster.
One-time captain of the Honduras national team and former Red Bull Amado Guevara is doing his part. He is raffling off one of his most treasured pieces of memorabilia: the shirt in which he won his first domestic title with Motagua. The money “will be sent directly to families affected by the hurricanes.”
Guevara is also participating in a local donation drive “with other Hondurans living in Miami, Florida.” The September 15 Foundation collected at least 20 tons of donations as of November 28th, including “medicines, clothing, imperishable food, healthy safety equipment, and toys.” The former MLS MVP was able to use his social media popularity to publicize the charity, demonstrating a strong commitment to helping those in need.
In a slight return to normalcy, Creighton University staged the Under the Lights team scrimmages, providing the first live sports for local fans in quite a long time. The men’s and women’s soccer teams competed at the event which also featured carnival games. The latter squad is managed by former MetroStar Ross Paule.
The 44-year-old assumed the role at his alma mater in December of 2014 after several years in the youth soccer world. Paule played for the club in 2001 and 2002, making 36 total appearances. After his release, he enjoyed a successful stint with the Columbus Crew, but his career was cut short at 29 years old due to post-concussion syndrome.
Being forced to retire early is a hard pill to swallow. Thankfully Paule was able to stay with the game and appears, based on recent records, to be steadily improving the Bluejays program. As of right now, there are tentative plans for this academic year’s season to be played in the spring.
More residential and commercial construction is coming to Harrison, New Jersey. Invictus Real Estate Partners “has funded an 89.5 million dollar construction loan” for mixed use development. According to Real Estate Weekly, Phase I includes “205 residential units, 7,670 square feet of commercial space, and 218 parking spaces.” The next stage will add additional residences, business, and parking but will also include the construction of a “200-key hotel.”
Once considered less than ideal when compared to other urban downtown MLS locations, Harrison is now positioned to become quite the thriving community, with the New York Times questioning whether the Newark suburb is “the next Hoboken.” A sparkling, new upgraded PATH station should add to the growth of the area. The jewel has been and will continue to be the shining stadium on the hill that is Red Bull Arena.
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Josephine of Secaucus.
“If the area becomes too upscale, we’ll be forced to call him the Two-Dollar Water Guy.”
Thank you, Josephine. That would indeed take some getting used to.
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