Welcome to the Weekly News Bulletin presented by Once A Metro. There’s a place to stay up to date on former players, stories behind the stories, and weird oddities from around the Red Bulls’ world. That place? It’s right here.
Here’s the top story at the top of the week..
After confirmation on Saturday that Red Bull Arena would be hosting New York City FC home matches for the first phase of MLS’s reopening, it was reported on Sunday that Toronto FC will also be holding its home matches in Harrison in the coming weeks. Clint O’Neil of local Ontario news station CHCH broke the provisional news, which is yet to be confirmed by league sources. Logistical difficulties with travel between the U.S. and Canada caused by covid-19 public health measures have forced Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays to operate out of Buffalo on a temporary basis, and it appears Toronto’s soccer team will be following suit in New Jersey as Major League Soccer relaunches in-stadium play.
Roy Miller is a free agent. The former Red Bulls defender was released by Deportivo Saprissa following the completion of the 2019-2020 season. During the second half of the season, he struggled for playing time due to injury. Miller joined Saprissa in August of 2019 after a two-year spell with the Portland Timbers.
The Morados claimed the 2020 Liga FPD Clasura, triumphing over Alajuelense, 3-0, in the aggregate final. It was Miller’s second tenure with Saprissa after playing with the club in 2016-2017 following his Red Bulls stint. What’s next for the 35-year-old with the end of his playing career looming on the horizon? Returning to Saprissa or retirement are the two current options.
“Personally, I would like to continue for six months to one more year,” Miller told La Nación. “I can’t say no [to retirement]. The first option is try to continue playing, but that possibility hasn’t happened. If nothing appears that catches my attention, then I will see.”
Best of luck wherever the road takes you, Roy, whether it’s left, right, or 300 feet over the bar.
Fulham defeated Brentford, 2-1, in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final to earn promotion back to the Premier League. Former Red Bull Tim Ream started at center back and played the entire 120 minutes. He’s been a key figure for the club this season, appearing in 47 out of 51 possible matches.
Ream joined Bolton Wanderers in 2012 for an undisclosed transfer fee after two seasons with the Red Bulls. He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. The St. Louis native moved to Fulham in 2015, for a rumored $3.6 million.
Ream is the protagonist in one of the wilder whispered Red Bulls stories of the past decade. According to a report from Stefan Bondy, then-general manager Erik Soler allegedly handed him a contract extension on the team bus following a blocked transfer to Arsenal. However, Soler denied the story, labeling it “a nice fairy tale.”
Do you know a better fairy tale? Winning promotion to the Premier League.
Montreal Impact manager Thierry Henry wanted to sign Ugandan player Martin Kizza, but he was unsure if it was a good move. So the Frenchman placed a call to his old Red Bulls teammate and a Ugandan legend, good old Ibrahim Sekagya.
“Titi called me, but we just talked briefly,” Sekagya told the Daily Monitor. “He was asking my opinion of the boy, whether I know him and whether he is a disciplined boy... He is going to be in good hands with Titi and at least I am in touch with Titi frequently. I will try to see how we can push him. I am also in touch with the boy and he seems excited and ready to join the new challenge.”
Sekagya reportedly provided aid to other players in the past, notably attempting to steer Emma Okwi and Faruku Miya in failed moves to Red Bull Salzburg. Considered one of The Cranes’ footballing icons due to his expansive and interesting career in Argentina and Austria, it’s no surprise he’s helping the next generation of players. While coaching New York Red Bulls II, he has also served as part of the technical team for the Ugandan national team and was even linked to the head coach job in 2017.
That’s lovely, Ibra, but stop helping the competition and convince some of those players to come to New York!
A former Red Bulls player is heading into management. Former Designated Player Rafa Márquez is moving back to Spain to lead Real Sociedad Deportiva Alcalá. Alcalá competes in Group 7 (Madrid) of the Tercera División, which is the fourth tier of Spanish soccer. Last season, the club finished in fourth place and qualified for the promotion playoffs, losing in the semifinal round. Marquez plans on obtaining his UEFA Pro Coaching license in the hopes of moving up the ladder.
“It is a beautiful opportunity for which I am very grateful,” he said following the announcement. “I have had a very warm welcome in a project with which I feel very committed and to which I arrive with the spirit of being able to help and offer all my experience from before as a player, and now as a coach.”
Following retirement, Marquez served as sporting director at Atlas before being fired in May of 2019. In July, he opened a soccer academy in Guadalajara for players aged six to 16, with the intention of eventually purchasing a lower league club.
Here’s a fun fact: Catherine of Aragon was born in Alcalá. That’s one of Henry VIII’s wives that didn’t die. Sounds like a good omen for Rafa!
RB Bragantino won the 2020 Troféu do Interior at the 2020 Campeonato Paulista, a state league played alongside regular national league competition. The Massa Bruta lost in the quarterfinal of the main playoff bracket to Corinthians by a 2-0 margin. However, by being the highest regular season finisher of the losing teams, the club was placed in a separate tournament with the 9th through 14th place finishers.
Following a first round bye, Bragantino defeated Botafogo in a semifinal shootout. In the final, Red Bull defeated Guarani, 1-0, via a 32nd minute goal from Léo Ortiz. With the win, the club clinched a spot in the 2021 Copa do Brasil and took home 360,000 Brazilian real.
New York’s Brazilian cousins are soon to begin their first season in Série A. Red Bull purchased the club in April of 2019 and converted the already existing Red Bull Brasil into a development team. Bragantino received the full treatment: a new name, a new logo, a cash infusion, and stadium upgrades.
The Weekly News Bulletin would like to preemptively apologize for any incorrect details in this section. The only thing I understand less than Brazilian soccer is dating. And if you’re wondering how my personal life is going, I remind you that I write blog posts about the Red Bulls.
Former New York Red Bulls goalkeeper coach Des McAleenan went deep with Off the Ball, discussing his career and how he managed to combat depression. He was on the MetroStars/Red Bulls staff from 2002 through 2011. Following a spell in Saudi Arabia, the Irishman struggled to find a way to move forward.
“I lost a bit of my identity, it took me a while to get coaching again,” said McAleenan. “I just went into a very dark place - anyone who has suffered from depression will tell you, it is like being stuck in a very, very, very dark maze. You cannot see out and you have no sense of feeling. You lose interest in everything and there is just absolute desperation; an intense, numbing pain that just eats you away from the inside.”
Thankfully, he was able to get back into the game with help from friends. Now he’s the goalkeeping coach for the Colombia national team, which is led by former MetroStars manager Carlos Queiroz.
French striker Mikael Mandron, a 25-year-old connected with a move to RBNY by the EFL HUB Twitter account on July 12th, moved from Gillingham to Crewe Alexandra. He scored five goals in 23 League One matches last season.
Best of luck at Gresty Road, Mikael! We hardly knew ye… literally!
Former Red Bulls reserve goalkeeper Santiago Castaño was released by the New York Cosmos. The 25-year-old goalkeeper had joined the club last summer. Castaño, a former U.S. youth international, was with the Red Bulls from 2013 through 2015 as a Homegrown player.
Tim Parker sat down for an interview with Dr. Jonathan Scheiman of Fitbiomics Inc. The 27-year-old Red Bulls center back discussed how he maintained fitness during quarantine and the benefits improved gut microbiome knowledge could bring to his career. He revealed the club had him take a blood test which led to the discovery of a hazelnut allergy
Fitbiomics seeks “to develop highly validated probiotics based on elite athletes’ microbiomes, which could improve athletic performance and, conceivably, even overall health.” According to the company’s theory, “elite athletes harbor higher numbers of certain types of bacteria in their gut microbiomes that support or perhaps drive the optimal levels of performance and recover.” It’s all very intelligent stuff that seems like it could have a positive impact on humanity.
Here’s a joke that was submitted by Eleanor of Belleville: “Do you know what would be good for my gut health? The Red Bulls winning MLS Cup.”
Thank you, Eleanor. That was very clever.