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February 11, 2013
Cahill: 'For Petke to be manager is unbelievable for the club'

Tim Cahill: "It’s really important that we make inroads for the fans, for the players, for the league. He’s everything about Red Bull."
Tim Cahill: "It’s really important that we make inroads for the fans, for the players, for the league. He’s everything about Red Bull."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Kristian R. Dyer Contributing Editor

HARRISON, N.J. – Count Red Bulls midfielder and designated player Tim Cahill among those firmly behind head coach Mike Petke.

When Petke was announced as the Red Bulls head coach last month, there was concern among fans that the former Major League Soccer veteran who had never served as a head coach would be able to get through and connect with the team’s high-priced roster. In particular, fans openly wondered if Petke could connect with the two designated players on the roster, namely Thierry Henry and to a lesser extent Cahill. As far as Cahill goes, he is saying all the right things about his new head coach and the decision to elevate him after Petke spent the past two seasons under Hans Backe as an assistant.

“For Petke to be manager is unbelievable for the club, the league, for the Red Bulls. It’s really important that we make inroads for the fans, for the players, for the league,” Cahill told the media on Monday at Red Bull Arena. “He’s everything about Red Bull, I know that. When I first came here, Petke was in the changing room with me constantly, talking about players, giving me input on the youngsters, about the league, about the other teams – he knows everything which is important.”

During those conversations, Cahill and Petke touched on the strong teams in MLS, notably Houston and Kansas City, and discussed all sorts of tactics and the tendencies of the league. A big name European coach, such as the ones the Red Bulls were linked to this offseason, wouldn’t have been as good of a fit in Cahill’s eyes.

On the surface, a big name coach would make sense for the club given what Cahill called the “Red Bull stigma that it has to be European.” But the club got it right in his eyes.

“For me, it’s probably what the team needs – a boss who knows a lot about the team and the infrastructure of the whole basis from bottom to top,” Cahill said.

He said the team was buzzing when Petke was announced as the head coach and days later that former Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser was joining his staff.

“It’s a no brainer really," Cahill said. "It’s hard to bring in European coaches who don’t understand the league, understand the structure of the players – understanding them and what’s going to be best to build the team. To have the backup of Robin Fraser as well and speaking to him the last couple of weeks is tremendous. Two defensive minded coaches – it was our biggest problem last year. I’ve always been a player who builds a team from discipline and defense and work our way forward and I feel this is what our team needed for a while.”

Cahill also cited that given Petke’s close work with the academy and reserves the past couple seasons that his appointment should be exciting for young players hoping to make the first team.

Hiring Petke, Cahill said, brings “Massive credibility for the Red Bulls.”
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