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January 21, 2013
Roxburgh: no rush to judgment on finding new Red Bulls coach, doesn't expect announcement soon

Andy Roxburgh: "We need somebody who is available. Secondly, we want someone who is appropriate, appropriate for this context here for this club."
Andy Roxburgh: "We need somebody who is available. Secondly, we want someone who is appropriate, appropriate for this context here for this club."
Photo by Michael Lewis
By Michael Lewis Editor

Stressing a need to be patient and finding the right fit for the organization, Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh on Monday said the MLS club was not close to naming a new coach.

The Red Bulls have been without a head coach for 73 days, since Hans Backe was told his contract would not be renewed for the 2013 Major League Soccer season on Nov. 9. The new season kicks off in 40 days on March 3.

The team will fly down to Florida on Tuesday to begin pre-season training camp at IMG Academies in Bradenton, with Mike Petke, an assistant coach on last year's staff, running the show as interim head coach.

Roxburgh said the team was still in discussions with candidates with "a lot of really interesting backgrounds."

"We thank you for your patience, the fans' patience," Roxburgh said to the media on a conference call. "We don't want to rush to judgment here. There won't be an announcement soon about it. But we have a great backroom staff here. We reorganized it and we're ready to roll.

"We just need to be patient a little bit longer. We need somebody who is available. Secondly, we want someone who is appropriate, appropriate for this context here for this club. We're trying desperately to make sure in the environment that we create is a positive one and that can give us the best chance of being successful next year."

There has been plenty of speculation, stories, rumors and talk about Backe's successor. Two names that have surfaced were former Scottish international Andy McAllister and former Portuguese international midfielder Paulo Sousa, who recently resigned as coach of Videoton (Hungary), fueling speculation that he would be named coach.

"I don't think I want to get into names or into speculation," Roxburgh said. "You know in football there's a lot of speculation. Yes, there is a speculation. I don't think it would be fair for me to talk to start talking about specific names or who we spoke to. I don't want to jeopardize any discussions that are ongoing. I mean it sincerely."

Roxburgh said he won't put "a fixed timeline on," hiring a coach, though there is a time line with the start of the season getting closer by the second.

Americans who have been Red Bulls coaching candidates include former Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch, Atlanta Silverbacks technical director and ESPN commentator Eric Wynalda and former U.S. international and Red Bulls players Claudio Reyna and Tony Meola, among others.

The Red Bulls became the first MLS team in the league's 18-year history not to have a permanent head coach in place for the MLS SuperDraft, which was held in Indianapolis on Thursday. They also are the only team of the 19 clubs without a coach.

Roxburgh, who met with the players at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J on Monday, said he was not frustrated about the process.

"I was saying to the players today, 'You adapt or die,' " he said. "You keep adapting. What has happened in this case, we have spoken to quite a number of people. They first of all got to be available and got to be appropriate. We said from Day One that we would be patient about this process. It's not a matter of frustration. It's a matter of taking your time and doing it properly. This was my view last week. You can rush to judgment here and bring somebody in right now with a staff. But rather than do that, we want to make sure we do the right thing. So it's an important decision for us."

The Red Bulls have been interviewing U.S. citizens and foreigners for the head job. Regardless who New York names as the head man, Roxburgh said he there will be "an American core" on the backroom staff.

Roxburgh said "the one thing I am making sure, that we put an American core in the backroom area. the people who have with us, who know the league, not only played in it, but know the league, from a technical perspective. That is very important."

If the Red Bulls were in Europe, naming a coach would be an entirely different proposition.

"Clearly, if you're working in Europe, it's kind of straight forward," he said. "Ok, you take [him] to France, can you speak French? But the difference in this case, knowing the MLS or is it somebody -- again I use the word appropriate -- to be able to adapt quickly."

"If you are simply sitting in London and trying to pick a coach from the UK, clearly that is easier. Here, you've got to consider things like visas, you've got to consider family getting moved. You've got to consider culture, language. there are all sorts of elements in it. Yes, it has been a very interesting process."

Roxburgh said that he speaks with Red Bull global head Gerard Houllier on everything New York Red Bull on a daily basis, which includes the coaching position.

"Clearly we are discussing a lot of this," he said. "This was our . . . project when we started off. I was invited into this by the owner of Red Bull [Dietrich Mateschitz] and by Gerard. Clearly, with the important decision I have that discussion both with the owner and with Gerard. That's what's been happening up to now. That's why I use the term we. We would like to make sure that we make the right decision."
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