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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

December 12, 2012
Source: Reyna has an interest in Red Bulls coaching role

Claudio Reyna has had the most distinguished playing career of an American field player in Europe.
Claudio Reyna has had the most distinguished playing career of an American field player in Europe.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

Since purchasing the MetroStars from Anschutz Entertainment Group in 2006, one of the biggest strategic and public relations mistakes the Red Bulls' management has made is utilizing Americans off the field, particularly taking advantage of former New York players after they have called it a career.

They have had a number of big names on the team -- former Red Bulls and MetroStars that currently reside in the metropolitan area -- with tons of international experience.

The impressive list includes Tony Meola, Tab Ramos, who has taken on the reins as coach of the U.S. Under-20 National Team, and former French international Youri Djorkaeff, who decided to live in New York City after his 2006 retirement.

Meola has been on three World Cup teams, played in two tournaments, made 100 international appearances for the United States and is considered one of the best Americans to guard the goal. His experience should be tapped by the club.

Like the way, current U.S. U-17 national coach Richie Williams, who has all the credentials to direct a Major League Soccer club, should have been tapped by the club, but was fired by the team in 2011.

Weeks ago it seemed that former Scottish international Gary McAllister, who has coaching experience at three English clubs (Coventry City, Leeds United and Aston Villa), would be named. The reason why the announcement of a new coach was delayed was because Red Bulls management in Salzburg wasn't particularly enthused about him, according to one American soccer source.

New sporting director Andy Roxburgh is said to be considering Americans for coaching roles as he looks for a successor for Hans Backe.

Good idea.

As it turns out, another name from Red Bulls past has surfaced as a possible coach or addition to the Red Bulls family -- Claudio Reyna.

According to one reliable source in the U.S. soccer community, Reyna has had talks with the Red Bulls with a possible role with the Major League Soccer club. One source said it was for a coaching position, even the head coaching job.

"It's not a bad move," one source said. "It's a real possible move."

Reyna, who played with the Red Bulls from 2007-2008, does not have coaching experience at the highest levels, though no field player has more European experience in American soccer history. He also was captain of the U.S. National Team. He is the U.S. Soccer's youth technical director.

"Is he capable? Does he have experience?" a source said.

Perhaps not head coaching experience, but Reyna certainly can bring a lot to the Red Bulls' table, given his experience.

Now, the Red Bulls have an opportunity to build a bridge by hiring not one, but perhaps a few former players in assistant coaching roles or in other capacities.

The ball is in their half of the pitch, to steal a phrase from another sport.
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