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May 23, 2007

Red Bulls fire youth development director; de Grandpre: No comment on 'personnel matters'


Managing director Marc de Grandpre wouldn't say if he or technical director Jeff Agoos was responsible in hiring Armen Simoniants, but that Agoos will conduct interviews for a successor.
Managing director Marc de Grandpre wouldn't say if he or technical director Jeff Agoos was responsible in hiring Armen Simoniants, but that Agoos will conduct interviews for a successor.
By Dylan Butler Associate Editor

The New York Red Bulls have fired Armen Simoniants less than three weeks after hiring him to replace Giovanni Savarese as the club's director of youth development, according to sources.

Simoniants was fired Tuesday because of inaccuracies in his resume, sources say. Simoniants claimed he was the MetroStars reserve coach from 2000 to 2003.

He replaced Savarese, who was controversially fired in March.

"We are excited to have the knowledge and experience that Armen brings to this club," Red Bulls technical director Jeff Agoos said in a statement two weeks ago. "We look forward to his positive contribution not only to our academy and community, but also to the New York Red Bulls first team."

According to a press release announcing his hiring, Simoniants was most recently the head coach of Moldova FA Premier League side FC Olympia Beltsy last year. Prior to that, from 2000-2006, Simoniants was a coach-instructor for Adults and Youth USSF Coaching Schools and between 2000-2003, was the head coach for the MetroStars Reserve Team.

However, sources say he was an assistant and, according to the Herald News, Simoniants was fired in 2003 because he couldn't accept his role on the team.

“Armen Simoniants has a good knowledge of the game and is able to conduct influential coaching sessions,” stated the Herald News, quoting an internal club memo. “However, his ability to identify talent is questionable. Armen has also proved to be very irresponsible, continually failing to communicate important information at key times. Armen has been unable to accept his role as the assistant coach of the MetroStars Reserve Team and has intentionally created an internal strife in the hopes of self-promotion.”

During a separate interview, de Grandpre did not want to talk about the firing.

Asked if Simoniants was fired, de Grandpre replied, "As you know, we don't comment on personnel matters. I really can't comment on it. Nor will anyone in the organization comment."

De Grandpre was asked who was responsible for hiring Simoniants -- Agoos, himself or someone else.

"We won't comment on that," he said.

De Grandpre said he wanted to get a new youth director in "immediately."

He said that Agoos "will be interviewing candidates and then well make a decision once he's comfortable."

Asked how tough is this on the organization that it fires someone two-three weeks after he was hired, de Grandpre answered: "Obviously it's not ideal. But it's something it is what it is."

Was this an embarrassing situation for Red Bull New York?

"I'm not going to comment on what particularly happened," de Grandpre said. "But I believe it happens in all types of businesses. It's a fact of life. I can't expand more on that."

Asked if he was referring to Simoniants' resume, de Grandpre replied: "I'm not commenting on any of it."

Agoos was mum as well.

Before a reporter could ask him any questions, Agoos said that he would not answer any questions regarding personnel matters.

Michael Lewis contributed to this story

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