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Weekly News Bulletin: August 31, 2020

The Reds Bulls search for new scouts, more frustration back home for Josh Sims, and a very special mask made for Mark Lisi in this week’s links

SOCCER: MAR 01 MLS - New York Red Bulls v FC Cincinnati Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the Weekly New Bulletin presented by Once a Metro. The leaves of Red Bulls information are falling to the ground. These colorful stories are raked, piled, shoved into bags, and deposited on the curbside ready for pickup by you, the esteemed reader.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Do you want to work for the Red Bulls? The club is hiring a full-time Assistant Scout to aid in “all aspects of player recruitment and scouting.” Reporting to Head of Scouting Paul Fernie, the job entails player identification, managing the scouting database, and creating reports.

Hiring additional front office staff to work directly with New York should be a welcome sign. It appears the club is gearing up for a roster overhaul, one requiring the necessary research and analysis for success. Red Bull Football is known for its renowned scouting department, but perhaps this is a sign New York is starting to build a separate fiefdom.

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Former Red Bulls loanee Josh Sims made his on-field return to Southampton, albeit with the Under-23s. The reserve side lost to EFL Championship debutantes Wycombe Wanderers, 1-0, in a friendly at St. Mary’s. The 23-year-old winger was in the starting lineup.

Sims’ career is in an odd place. After two faultlessly uninspired half-seasons with the Red Bulls, he returned to England with a year remaining on his contract. Appearing surplus to requirements and not quite Premier League quality, it’s unlikely a Championship club would pay for his services and instead wait for free agency next summer.

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Sometimes players make mistakes. Former Red Bull Anatole Abang got himself into a pickle and half in Champions League qualifying. The Cameroonian striker was sent off in the 37th minute for a flying challenge on his Qarabağ FK opponent.

Sheriff Tiraspol lost the single elimination match, 2-1. The Moldovan champions move into the third qualifying round of the Europa League to take on a yet to be determined opponent.

Chin up, Anatole. Successful people always look ahead to the next battle. It’s time to focus on beating Dacia Buiucani.

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Wolverhampton is currently opting to not replace Kevin Thelwell. Executive chairman Jeff Shi will run both the football and commercial sides of the club. According to Express & Star, “Wolves had been looking for a replacement for Thelwell.” Managing director Laurie Dalrymple also departed the club last summer in what was considered a shocking move.

Thelwell joined the Red Bulls in February in the newly created head of sport position. He claimed to have taken the job because “it was too good of an opportunity to turn down” a club with “huge potential to do great things.”

I cannot blame him for departing Wolverhampton which was once listed as the fifth-worst city in the world.

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A former MetroBull was presented with a jersey he never got to wear. In a great story by Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives, Mark Lisi received “three masks made from the national team jersey that bore his name.” The midfielder was called into a 2001 camp but was not a part of the friendly roster. However, a jersey was prepared just in case, something he discovered upon opening the mail.

Lisi was drafted by D.C. United in 2001. He spent five years with the MetroStars and Red Bulls, making 102 total appearances from 2002 through 2006. His career was cut short due to prolonged injury struggles which necessitated two hernia surgeries.

Something tells me this is one mask that is anything but disposable.

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There is high praise for manager Chris Armas from at least one of his key players. Cristian Cásseres was profiled by World Football Index. The Venezuelan midfielder dreams of moving to Europe and believes the current system and staff is a benefit. “Chris is a great trainer and a very good person,” he told WFI. “He is a hands-on trainer that likes to teach us but more than anyone else, to the younger ones and that is something that has helped me a lot.”

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The saga of Jean-Claude Billong in Italy continues. The former Red Bulls U-23s defender appears on the way out at Serie B side Salernitana, if not for the pesky years remaining on his contract. According to Il Mattino (via Salernitana News), the club seeks to have the deal terminated for “disciplinary reasons” involving the alleged abandonment of a hotel room in defiance of anti-COVID restrictions.

Billong is reportedly no longer training with the club, with his “unilateral termination of the contract for just cause” being deliberated by the Italian Football Federation’s arbitration board. Will the 26-year-old center back become a free agent? Will he remain with The Garnets until 2023, with both sides attempting to rebuild what seems to be a frayed relationship? Once a Metro will keep you posted on this captivating story which surely has all readers on pins and needles.

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Why does Liverpool love Red Bull players? According to Jesse Marsch, it’s all about player identification and the press. Liverpool recently brought in Red Bull talents Takumi Minamino and Naby Keita. The former New York and current Salzburg manager claims there are five players from his current team “that would fit into Liverpool perfectly.”

As far as building a club, Marsch learned that “it is about having an identity, sticking to it and having everybody with expertise in their own area.” The difficult part is getting everyone to mesh. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from abruptly departing too far from a club’s core ethos. Not discussing any situation in particular; just speaking generally.

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Senior Director of Content and Communications Jayne Bussman-Wise spoke at the recent New York Virtual Summit hosted by the University Campus of Football Business. Students learned how the club’s front office was forced to change and grow during the pandemic.

“We’ve been able to churn out some really interesting and fun creative pieces,” said Bussman-Wise. “We’ve been able to do stuff with our players that normally we would just never have the time to do. We’re trying to think of really unique, creative ways to engage with our players, and keep our fans entertained, while everyone is staying home and staying safe.”

Bussman-Wise assumed her role with the club in April of 2017. Future in-house production includes a quiche cooking class with Florian Valot and a workout with Tim Parker and his dog.

The UCFB program began in 2011 at Burnley FC of England. The program offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs related to soccer and the industry at large. In 2019, a “global study hub” was opened at Red Bull Arena in New York and RBNY general manager Marc de Grandpre is on the school’s “Industry Advisory Board.

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Red Bulls II midfielder Barry Sharifi was profiled by Double G Sports. The former academy player discussed his adjustment to the higher intensity press at the professional level and how he had to “grow up quickly” because both of his parents served overseas as linguists. The Long Island native has made seven appearances this season in USL.

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Former Red Bull-connected player Heyson Argueta signed a contract with Club Social y Deportiva Sacachispas of the first tier Liga Nacional de Guatemala. The 18-year-old was one of the club’s representatives in the 2016 Sueño MLS competition, a “nationally-televised player search” that endeavored to identify undiscovered talent. According to MarcaSports, Argueta played youth soccer with Everton America, NY Soccer Club, FC Westchester, and Beachside FC.

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Former Red Bulls Academy player and coach Dwayne Dove was added to the staff at powerhouse Pennsylvania youth club FC DELCO. He will manage the Girls ECNL 2007 and Boys Pre-Academy 2007 squads. Dove was a scout and trainer for the Red Bulls Training Program from 2015 through 2018. The former Vermont Catamount played with the U-23s during the historic undefeated 2014 season.

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Former New York Red Bulls II stalwart Konrad Plewa is the co-owner and sporting director of his very own soccer team. The United Premier Soccer League announced that EFA Metro is set to debut this fall. Home matches will be played at Alps Road Field in Wayne, New Jersey.

A former academy prospect, Plewa played with NYRB II in 2015 and 2016, a key member of the 2016 USL Cup winning side. He was also with Saint Louis FC and Real Monarchs, once again winning the league with the latter club in 2019. Currently, the 28-year-old Polish defender is with the New York Cosmos setup in the National Independent Soccer Association.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Mabel of East Orange.

“With zero experience, Plewa is already better than 50% of MLS sporting directors.”

Thank you, Mabel. I cherish your insight and searing wit.

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