June 28, 2012
If visa isn't granted, Red Bulls will drop pursuit of Rodgers on Saturday
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The countdown for the possible return of Luke Rodgers is perhaps drawing to a close, but maybe not in the way Red Bulls fans would be hope.
With a self-imposed deadline of the end of June for an answer on his visa status, coach Hans Backe and the Red Bulls are eyeing the clock as they wait for his approval to return to MLS.
When asked last week, New York’s management was hopeful of an answer this week on the visa situation regarding the player. Rodgers, who was denied his visa for re-entry to the United States after playing his first season in MLS last year, had recently re-filed his paperwork to continue his playing career with the Red Bulls. The club continues to wait for an answer from the state department on his most recent visa application.
“We haven’t gotten an answer yet,” Backe said.
“Also frustrating because we just need it before the end of June but also for Luke himself to find a club in England when the transfer window opens; he can’t just wait and not play.”
The forward had been playing in Norway’s top division this spring to maintain his fitness and he is currently in England right now, training on his own. Backe did voice concerns over “core injuries” Rodgers picked up in Norway, saying that “we can’t get a player who will arrive and need treatment for a month or something like that.”
Complicating the matter further, Backe said that he must have an answer by the end of June or else he will have to drop his pursuit of Rodgers for this season.
As far as other options to bolster the Red Bulls depth at forward, Backe said that there’s “not really” any names that have surfaced right now.
“The thing is to try and look at other clubs and try to make a trade or whatever it is,” Backe said.
“That’s probably the way we have to do it."