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Weekly News Bulletin: September 14, 2020

Could we see Roy Miller back in MLS again? Could Chris Armas coach the Puerto Rico national team? Could the Red Bulls have drafted Carlos Bocanegra?

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SOCCER: JUN 20 MLS - Whitecaps at Redbulls Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the Weekly New Bulletin presented by Once a Metro. Sometimes people will question where they are in life, whether their pursuits are worth the effort. Whatever path you’re on, it’s led you to here: clicking on and reading this blog post. Cherish the next few moments of certainty in thought and action because they’re fleeting.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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Former Red Bull transfer target Leo da Silva Lopes is joining Cercle Brugge from Hull City. The Tigers will reportedly receive a fee in the range of 1.5 million pounds. The Red Bulls had two offers for the Portuguese midfielder rejected last winter, with the second reportedly in the area of 1.7-to-1.8 million pounds.

Cercle Brugge, of the Belgian First Division A, is owned by AS Monaco following a takeover in 2017. Monaco’s and Brugge’s sporting director is none other than Paul Mitchell, former technical director of Red Bull’s global soccer project. Mitchell is aided by head of recruitment and development Laurence Stewart who served as Red Bull head of global scouting. Both were considered major behind-the-scenes figures at the club, with head of sport Kevin Thelwell noting their presence as a reason for accepting his current role.

Considering Lopes was reportedly moving to the Premier League, supporters might be entitled to disappointment with what could be viewed as somewhat of a lateral move from the English Championship to a league outside of the top five. What would have ultimately been overpaying on the transfer fee was not enough to attract him. Although, perhaps there was no need for a stint with the Red Bulls if he was going to end up in Belgium anyway. Cut out the middleman, as they say.

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Florian Valot touched on a variety of topics in an interview with the Grounds blog. Like many, he filled his shutdown days with reading and hanging out with his dog. The French midfielder revealed he felt safe in the Orlando bubble, but the first few days “were quite tense.” Valot also shared his thoughts on recent social and political issues, particularly on inequality and injustice.

It’s been a fine comeback season for the 27-year-old fifth-year pro. He missed almost the entirety of 2019 with an ACL tear but rebounded by appearing in every 2020 match so far. Provided Valot stays healthy, it’s possible the team will build around him as a key piece as it searches to find its identity in a post-Armas world.

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The alarm bells are ringing in Valkeakoski. Teemu Tainio and recently promoted FC Haka are squarely in the relegation zone and need to turn things around with only one win in 13 matches. To help turn things around he has turned to his former Finland teammate Sami Hyppia for help. The former Liverpool defender is over-qualified for the assistant role, having already managed at Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton & Hove Albion, and FC Zürich.

Haka was promoted from the second division but is struggling to adjust to the jump in quality. According to Tainio, the team hasn’t been “straightforward” enough despite an emphasis on playing more directly. The former Red Bull assumed command of his former boyhood club in 2019.

Right the ship, Teemu. Nobody wants to support a floundering, passive aggressive entity, or so I was informed by the people who no longer talk to me.

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What should Chris Armas do with his next career move? According to one writer, the time is right for the former Red Bulls manager to take control of the Puerto Rico national team. His availability represents a “golden opportunity” for The Blue Hurricane due to his background in MLS and ability to recruit players based in the United States.

Armas earned five caps with the Puerto Rican national team before switching to the USMNT. The Caribbean archipelago is currently ranked 178th by FIFA and is set to begin 2022 World Cup qualifying in October. Current manager Elgy Morales was hired in 2019, taking over for former MetroStar/Red Bull Amado Guevara. It appears there is no groundswell of support for the Armas-to-PR movement, but he is only recently on the market. If you listen to former USMNT interim manager Dave Sarachan, his colleague will have a new job sooner rather than later.

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Calling all artists! The Red Bulls are hiring a graphic designer to “produce and oversee digital and print creative solutions to address marketing needs.” The job involves designing all sorts of promotional and advertising materials, with an ideal candidate possessing more than four years of experience and the ability to use all sorts of creative computer programs and applications.

While Linkedin shows that over 200 job seekers have put in for the position, maybe one of the fine readers of Once a Metro will secure a role with the organization. By consuming this website, you’re clearly a better fit and more capable employee than 99% of the American public. What is that final one percent? It comes from you and your delightful talent, of course.

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Josh Sims remains with the Southampton reserves. Soton recently revamped its development programming, renaming the squad from the Under-23s to “the B team” and implementing a more fluid pathway to the senior level. The season includes Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy matches.

The Saints opened “meaningful” play in the division with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. Sims scored, knocking in a cross at the back post. It’s all very exciting, but one imagines he would rather be playing first-team football.

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What was it like being a top player and ending up in MLS in the 90s? According to former MetroStar Roberto Donadoni, he had issues with tactics and felt like “the driver of a bus who arranged [his] teammates.” However, the Italian international considered the country beautiful and found it difficult to leave New Jersey after adjusting.

Donadoni played two seasons with the MetroStars, scoring six goals in 49 appearances from 1996 through 1997. He made a triumphant return to Milan after leaving MLS with the blessing of league commissioner Doug Logan and club general manager Charlie Stillitano. Since retiring, the 57-year-old has held a variety of management positions, including Livorno, Napoli, Bologna, and the Italian national team.

No word if Donadoni will ever make good on Stillitano’s promise of an eventual return. I hear there’s a position open at the club.

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Here’s a story that was submitted to the Weekly News Bulletin by Little Austin of Dover.

Following the disastrous 1999 MLS Season, the MetroStars had the top pick in the 2000 SuperDraft. The club selected Steve Shak out of UCLA who went on to make 32 appearances in two seasons before moving to the Colorado Rapids. Manager Octavio Zambrano was dead set on the player, overlooking such talents as Danny Califf, Bobby Convey, and Carlos Bocanegra.

As told by Peter Wilt, there was a great trade deal on the table. The former Chicago Fire president and general manager offered the fourth and sixth picks in exchange for the top selection, which he claims could have led to the acquisition of Shak and another player. Zambrano refused, and that was the end of that. Bocanegra went on to have a great career, the MetroBulls wouldn’t win a trophy until 2013, and I slipped and fell on stage at my high school graduation, all because a team made the wrong choice in a draft. Mistakes happen.

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Roy Miller is considering his options after being released by Deportivo Saprissa in July. The former Red Bull defender insists he is “100%” ready to play and has two options: one domestic and one in MLS.” The Costa Rican international missed the majority of the 2019-2020 season.

If Miller is unable to find a team interested in his play, then he is ready to go into coaching. According to a recent interview, plan B is to be a “minor league coach,” presumably with Portland. “There was a possibility of returning to Portland with the football school academies, but that is to be seen,” he told 98.7 FM. However, with transfer activity low and teams looking for players, there is no rush to hang up the boots.

It’s been quite the career for Miller, from the frozen tundra of Scandinavia to the clean, clear water of the Passaic River, but it appears it’s not over yet.

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One of the top talents in Duke’s incoming freshman recruiting class is Peter Stroud, a former player in the Red Bulls Academy. He left the Tri-state Area in 2018 for a youth scholarship with West Ham United. After appearing with the U-18 and U-23 sides, the midfielder opted to attend Duke because it would provide benefits “both academically and as a person.”

He lists his favorite player as his brother Jared, who, of course, suits up for the Red Bulls. Duke is expected to play a limited schedule this fall, as the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference has decided to re-start athletics. Perhaps this is a player who will appear on future Red Bulls U-23 rosters, perhaps not.

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You’re surely wondering, “What’s Jan Halvor Halvorsen up to?” I’m glad you asked. The former Red Bulls assistant coach under Hans Backe is managing Bryne FK in the 2. divisjon (third tier). The Norwegian club is aiming for promotion, currently in second place in Group 2 with 20 points from nine matches.

The club, located on Lake Frøylandsvatnet, is on the rise, with Halvorsen a big reason why. In his second season with the club, the 57-year-old brought in new players who “raised the quality of training.” He even works on fixing up the field at Bryne Stadion before matches, claiming it gives him “peace of mind” and something “useful” to do.

The Jærens superlag’s next match is against Odds BK’s reserve side. I’m sure everyone will be watching… provided your cable package gets Norwegian third division matches.

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Congratulations and felicidades to former Red Bull Armando Lozano on the birth of his child. The Spanish defender’s son, also named Armando, was born August 19th. The 35-year-old has taken to fatherhood with expected elegance, as even the routine carriage stroll possesses the beauty and precision of a Milano runway walk.

Lozano played with the Red Bulls in 2014, a tumultuous season that may have led to him being unfairly labeled as a “hard man” who earned the ire of officials. After departing an undeserving MLS, he spent time on the books at Elche, Fuenlabrada, and Salamanca before retiring due to a severe knee injury. Since leaving the field, the Motril native stayed busy by competing in a Men’s Health fitness competition and remaining involved in the politics of the Spanish Footballers Association.

Enjoy fatherhood, Armando. You were too uniquely talented and skilled for the unrefined American soccer palate.

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Do you remember Frank Rost? The German goalkeeper joined the Red Bulls as a Designated Player in July of 2011, playing with the club for half of a season. It was emotional. He retired shortly after departing the club.

Since leaving the game, he worked as the managing director of Hamburg handball and has been a fixture in the commentary circuit. However, his true passion is equestrian and horse breeding. Not content with mere involvement, he recently attempted to enter an administration and leadership position. The 47-year-old ran for President of the Hannoveraner Verband (Hanoverian Association), claiming he can be “independent and without prejudice.” The organization runs events and maintains standards for the Hanoverian horse breed.

Unfortunately, Rost did not win the election. Despite the setback, he will continue to work all day with the majestic beasts on his 40,000 square meter farm.

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Doris of Rahway.

“Is Frank Rost the best goalkeeper in Red Bulls history? Neigh.”

Thank you, Doris. Don’t ever stop being you, even after you die, which based on your AOL email address is probably soon.

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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.