Following his decision to release head coach Chris Armas and his assistant CJ Brown, New York Red Bulls sporting director Kevin Thelwell spoke with the press and explained his decision and outlined his standard for the club he took over earlier this year.
“We have to make these difficult decisions to let both Chris (Armas) & C.J. Brown go today. A huge thanks to Chris and CJ. for their hard work and dedication. I think I’ve had enough time to evaluate where we were, to advance the plan, we’ve decided to go in a different direction.”
“But what we do next is to name an interim shortly who has complete confidence in the rest of the team and the staff to do a good job, before we make another decision to bring in a new head coach.”
Staff assistants Bradley Carnell, Preston Burpo, and Tony Jouaux administered training on Friday morning as reports by the afternoon indicated that Carnell had been approached by Thelwell about taking on the interim role while a permanent manager is recruited.
Thelwell was adamant that while he respected Armas and Brown’s work and effort, the team’s results and performances did not meet the standard he expected upon taking over the club earlier this year.
“I don’t think it’s about one game,” he said. “It was about evaluating where we were across the course of the season. My perspective was, and I didn’t feel like we saw an in terms of the performances. And then fundamentally the results didn’t follow either and so that led to a position where I felt it was right to make a decision at this time.”
Thelwell acknowledged the stresses of the covid-19 pandemic, stating “I did take that into account of course, and I think it’s taken me a little bit of time probably longer than anticipated to evaluate the situation on that very basis” and praised Armas’ handling of the pandemic scenario with the squad. However Thelwell continued that his evaluation of the day-to-day situation indicated a change needed to be made when it was clear “the performances weren’t quite the level that we’d expect from the quality of the group.”
For me personally, it’s a bit of a sad time for me as I will never forget the kind gesture that Chris Armas did for me and my family. When I took time away to mourn the death of my father who passed away due to Parkinson’s disease, Armas personally called and spent several minutes with me and my family consoling over the loss.
While I understand that results are apart of the game and this is life getting a professional sports team to have a positive season with a trophy at the end of it, Armas will always be a true gentleman both and on and especially off the pitch.
He was an honest, hard working soccer player who carried that over into coaching as a staff member, and though his first attempt at a head coaching role came to a disappointing end, one will hope to see Armas continue in the American soccer landscape for more years to come.