October 18, 2012
Sam, last player signed under Soler regime, says he's focused on the game, not off-the-field issues
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – About two weeks ago, the Red Bull ownership group in Salzburg, Austria fired sporting director and general Erik Soler from his post in New York, cutting ties with the man who has been at the head of the club the last three years. Then last week, a report from Sweden had head coach Hans Backe purportedly saying he expects this season to be his last in MLS.
Distractions, distractions and more distractions – all with the Major League Soccer playoffs just weeks away. It would seem that the Red Bulls players would be spinning with everything that has happened but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The newest Red Bull, winger Lloyd Sam, was the last player brought into the club by Soler and he is well known by Backe from a previous coaching stint in England.
Sam was asked by BigAppleSoccer.com if the recent move and rumors over the past couple weeks is producing a distraction ahead of the postseason.
“It’s not even a distraction for me, it doesn’t affect me," he said after training at Montclair State earlier this week. "The manager is still the same, the training is still the same. Not much has actually changed for me, I guess it’s not a distraction really.”
Sam missed the last Red Bulls game with a hamstring injury.
“I’ve been worried about this injury, I haven’t even been thinking about those things,” he said.
Then Sam paused and added one more thought.
“I don’t even know what that means that things have changed.”
That statement right there is a bit of a shocker but perhaps in a good way.
It’s interesting that Sam and the Red Bulls might just be so focused on Saturday’s home match against Sporting Kansas City that the firing of Soler coupled with the Backe rumors just doesn’t register with them. It was explained to him by the media what exactly had been happening around the club and the possible impact.
He nodded and looked genuinely to have absorbed the basics of the past two weeks, including the possible impact to Backe. It didn’t seem to impact his outlook much.
“As long as he’s here now, I guess we’ll take each day as it comes. I’ve not really heard too much with regards to those rumors,” Sam said. “You guys know more than me. “