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March 25, 2010
Soler, Backe step into the MLS unknown

Erik Soler: "We might get hammered on Saturday. You never know."
Erik Soler: "We might get hammered on Saturday. You never know."
Photo by Joy Rubenstein
MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Here it is two days before the MLS season opener for the Red Bulls and their general manager and sporting director is terrified.

Erik Soler, the man in question, has questions about the team as it enters its first league match at Red Bull Arena against the Chicago Fire Saturday night. He and coach Hans Backe are both in their first year in management positions. They are both foreigners -- Soler is Norwegian and Backe is Swedish -- and they are still learning about the way MLS operates.

"We just had a chat about it, me and Hans," Soler said after practice Thursday afternoon. "We were both what do you call, terrified. If this was like Copenhagen, or like Norway or in Germany, we would actually have a sort of a get feeling, where are we? We have to admit we really don't have the knowledge about how we should be or aren't we. It has looked good so far, but the league is the league."

Soler, however,l said he was confident over the long run.

"What I feel confident about is where we are going to be after the 30 games, more in the longer term," he said. "I feel confident the team is good and that we'll make the playoffs. These first three, four five games, I am a little bit scared."

Soler said he felt he wasn't under any special pressure to win.

"No not, pressure," he said. "Obviously when you have a head coaching position or a sporting director position in a big club in New York, you are always under healthy pressure. It's the pressure we're here for. We like it. We are confident. We might get hammered on Saturday. You never know."

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