Monday Morning Centerback

Monday Morning Centerback: On the Red Bulls and Fire coaching searches and a potential Union signing

Good morning and Happy Cyber Monday all (okay, so maybe it's not a holiday). Apologies for the late start to the day, but the changeover from West Coast time to East Coast time has officially ruined my sleep patterns, which isn't good for getting sleep, but is good for writing 3am posts.

There are a bunch of topics to discuss, most of them being MLS related, so let's just jump in:

The New York Red Bulls will officially introduce Erik Soler as the team's new general manager later this week. If you were assuming that the hiring of a foreign GM would mean that an MLS head coach would be brought in, think again. There are signs pointing to the club hiring a foreign head coach.

Who are some of the names being floated around for the head coaching position? Sources tell SBI that a leading candidate being considered strongly is former Norwegian national team manager Ã…ge Hareide. A former Norwegian national team teammate of Soler, Hareide has enjoyed success as a coach in different countries, having won league titles in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Hareide most recently coached Swedish club Orgryte, but parted ways with the club just last week, with reports out of Norway suggesting that he was weighing other coaching offers.

While Hareide isn't a name known by most Red Bulls fans, another candidate being considered has a bit more name cachet.

Former Arsenal legend and one-time Portsmouth manager Tony Adams is being mentioned in MLS circles as a potential candidate. No, Adams doesn't have much of a managerial resume to speak of, but he does have a strong relationship with Thierry Henry, his former Arsenal teammate and the Red Bulls' expected summer Designated Player target.

What's the scariest part about the possibility of the Red Bulls hiring a foreign head coach to go with a foreign general manager, thus giving the club two people in charge who don't know anything about MLS? There's the track record of foreign coaches in MLS, which is bad enough, but there is also the frightening possibility that the Red Bulls new leadership could be counting on former technical director Jeff Agoos for help with understanding how MLS operates.

Yes, you read that right, the man who co-authored one of the worst teams in MLS history could wind up having a key role with the same team he helped run into the ground last season. Agoos still has a job with the team, and has been essentially operating as a scout for the club in recent months, but with a potential head coach and GM having no practical MLS knowledge, and with current interim head coach Richie Williams a candidate for multiple head coaching positions, Agoos could wind up being the only person on the Red Bulls with working knowledge of MLS. And you thought the scenarios in the movie 2012 were scary.


In Chicago, it is looking like Chris Armas isn't interested in coming back to the Fire as head coach. Sources tell SBI that Armas isn't looking to be included in the mix to replace Denis Hamlett, though he is still believed to be the top target of the Fire front office. The Fire has been in contact with other leading coaching candidates within MLS, but don't be surprised if the Fire keeps going after Armas.


In Philadelphia, the Union can begin to start making deals to sign players on Tuesday and one player who could be heading to the Union is Jeremiah White. Sources tell SBI that White is set to leave AGF Aarhus in January and Philadelphia is in talks to bring White to the Union. Philadelphia holds the top spot in the MLS allocation order, meaning the club can have first crack at signing White if he does sign with MLS.

Speaking of the Union, look for an ESPN.com piece from me on the Philly Union to appear later today. Among the things touched on in the piece is Peter Nowak's philosophy on designated players. The sense I get based on Nowak's comments is that the Union will be looking long and hard for one. There had been concerns about whether Philadelphia would sign one given the rumored financial troubles of Union owner Jay Sugarman, but Nowak sounds like a coach who has been given the green light to sign one if he can find one who is an ideal fit.


Last, but certainly not least, the voting for the U.S. Soccer "Best of" series has begun and U.S. soccer fans can vote on the following categories:

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  • SBI will be looking to defend its title as Best Soccer Blog, so be sure to vote for SBI early and often. Voting for the awards closes on Dec. 13.


    What do you think of these developments? Surprised that the Red Bulls would hire a foreign coach AND a foreign GM? Like the idea of Jeremiah White joining Philadelphia?

    Share your thoughts below.

    • timmy_u

      From BigSoccer rumor and speculation to SBI potential signing, I would kill to see Jeremiah White in Khaki and Blue. Join, or die.


    • CrazyG

      Color me not impressed with Red Bull’s choices…If Richie ends up leading DC to another championship while Red Bull end up in another disappointment…Consider this my 1 season notice of Resignation as a Fan of this sorry excuse for an organization! Go Union in ’11!



    • Kyle Feller

      Lot of great stuff this morning. I’m not sure luring one of Thierry’s buddies is necessary. He’s coming no matter what and who.

      (SBI-Not sure if it would be a move made to lure him so much as a move made to appease him. It’s far from a done deal though on Adams. As it stands, I’d put my money on the Norwegian coach getting the job before Adams.)


    • kpugs

      Another foreign coach for RBNY is a terrible idea. However I’d take Adams to land Henry. The club fires their coach every few months as it is, so Adams would be gone soon enough and the next fish will be brought in (temporarily of course).


    • Manny F

      Amen. That makes two of us. There is not much stopping me from jumping ship and going with Philly now.


    • Shmenge

      Tony Adams? Really?

      Are Henry’s people now going to run NYRB?

      This is worse than Gullit-to-L.A. because Becks wanted it.

      Trouble is, MLS can’t afford a bunch of the guys Adams and Henry know unless they’re already 38 and washed up.

      Having personal connections to Europe is irrelevant if the players can’t be bought.


    • eltigreferoz

      I’m not surprised that anyone could be so stupid as to hire to foreign managers with no experience in the MLS to run their team. However, when that team is the Red Bulls it seems the most obvious decision. Honestly, I’m pissed. Both these clowns will be fired within a year while Richie Williams will most likely be leading DC to the playoffs.

      Thanks, Red Bulls.


    • Jeff (Philadelphia)

      No stopping the Union if White comes to Seaport Drive! Not to mention a possible DP! 🙂


    • Eric_the_King

      Usually I try to write something insightful or at least respectful when I post…. but for some reason the only thing I can come up with today is:



    • Smith

      While I’d rather have Richie, having a coach with MLS experience is no guarantee of success. Thus, I give you:

      Odo to Juan Carlos Osorio –

      So alone, deep in thought

      He scribbled in his notebook furiously

      “Do you think Mendes would make a good defensive mid?”

      He asked us earnestly

      Playing people out of position

      Big Mac on out the flank

      He stuck with a 4-5-1 on the road

      As he watched the season tank

      Scribbling in his notebook

      As he brought in Pietrevallo

      He played Rojas in the middle

      Because he loved his sudamericanos

      Pacheco was inserted

      We don’t need no Eric Brunner!

      Mercifully the Professor is no longer with us

      But the Legend of Juan Carlos Osorio should have been gone sooner


    • Chris

      It really doesn’t surprise me at all that RB would hire a foreign Director and Coach. First they hired the director and then once he was hired it was that new hire’s decision on who the coach would be. He went with someone he knows more about than a US guy (or at least is leaning that way – it’s not a done deal yet). Once it was his decision to make it was unlikely to be a MLS coach.

      On the other hand, I can’t say I blame RB for going in a direction other than a US coach. They’ve had the organization for a few years now and have been hearing about how in order to have success you need a guy that knows MLS in charge and have been following that (to no success so far). They were convinced to keep Mo Johnson for that reason when they first got ownership, then went out and got Bruce Arena who was said to be the best coach in the country (yet the team did worse as the season went on and they only squeeked into the playoffs to get knocked out in the first round), and then got Ossorio who they were told was perfect (and we all know how well that went). Even before they got here they could look at the 3 years when Bob Bradley was here and the team didn’t quite achieve much either. You can’t fault the for saying “yeah, we’ve done MLS guys for years now and it’s not been working – we’re going in a different direction”.

      Are they making the right decision? Well we can’t really say until we actually see who they decide on. I believe a foreign guy can succeed here, but that guy has to do a lot of homework. In fact I don’t think having a foreign coach is a problem at all. The director being a foreigner though is where I think the main danger is (but then it’s too late for that now it seems).


    • guillermo

      I really would like to see Denis Hamlett get some serious consideration for the Red Bulls job.


    • Josh D

      Hope DC is led to another title, been too long for us!

      Saying that, I’d watch jumping on the NYRB hate wagon too early. A mix of coaching smarts which is what the Norway coach offers and knowing MLS which Agoos does having played in and worked with for the past 15ish years, isn’t too bad.

      Yes, he sucked last season but Agoos won’t have that responsibility again. His would be as an adviser to how things will play out in MLS for the Norway manager. It’s as if when Gullit came, Cobi Jones was in charge of advising him on how the system works. He’d have say but little influence in who is brought in.

      Plus the other big difference is no name attached (including the new GM) have an ego to speak of whereas Gullit had a huge one which interfered with his decision making. Here’s hoping the Eastern coast becomes competitive again!


    • Michael Vann

      I’ve said it for a few weeks now that White would be the perfect signing for the Union. He’s a local “face” and is player the team could definitely build around. His speed and thunderous shots could cause havoc. Jeremiah has a age on his side and If I were Nowak he would be at the top of my list. I feel White has been ignored by Bradley and I would to see him be in the picture for the Nats.


    • Al17

      Actually, Ã…ge Hareide, might be one of the few foreign coaches whom would do well in MLS. If RedBulls can sign him it would be interesting and he’d do his homework about the league beforehand and make sure to surround himself with the right people. If RedBull don’t sign Ritchie Williams then Ã…ge would be a good move in my opinion.

      (SBI-I don’t disagree with Hareide potentially being able to do well in MLS, but a foreign coach needs a good support system to do well in MLS and nothing suggests that the Red Bulls will have a good support system in place.)


    • petke fan

      Adams, Henry…are we trading JP Angel to Seattle for Ljungberg too? Paging Martin Keown…

      Honestly…RB, pull your head out of your (hans-jorg)butt already.


    • cfig

      I like the idea of signing White just so I can see him play. We’ve heard him name mentioned a lot but it’s not like you can just tune in to Aarhus matches, I’d love to see what he can do and if he’s worth a potential call-up.

      Even if he’s not at this point, if he’s developing I think he and the other young talent we have could be in their prime come 2014 (Jozy, Holden, Rogers, Torres, Edu, Spector, Davies, Bradley, etc.) and give us a squad capable of a legitimate run at the World Cup.


    • CoachK

      Ok that is the dumbest most idiotic idea that Red Bulls have come up with to date?

      Lets see if I have this right

      Take the number 1 A hole Agoos and let him run the show based on his “brilliant” record ” of totally ruining RB so far?

      2) Hire a No name as far as MLS is concerned clown to try and decipher the rules,allotments DP requirements,regulations,etc.

      3) We the local loyal supporters were all waiting with baited breath for a new chapter, new stadium,new coach. Richie Williams wouls have fit the bill perfectly.. but no we get the 3 stooges two Eriks and Agoos?

      4) Obviously they do NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR LOCAL FAN BASE and are more exited about some new image on the East coast called Red Bull? Well I suggest they change their name to White Elephant because pretty soon as no one addresses the elephant in the room Red Bull Stadium will be empty and hey we can always give Agoos the credit for that? I am seriously thinking of supporting the Union run by Novak one of the best MLS coaches period!What a travestyand how stupid can one organization be??

      Signed really pissed off

      Coack K


    • Michael F.

      How does Garber allow RBNY to continually run this franchise into the ground. He has stated publically in the past NY is an essential franchise to the success of the league. Foriegn GMs and foreign coaches do not succeed in MLS. Period. I am officially not a rbny fan anymore. Just need to decide who I wll support. Anyone want my 4 pack season tickets? Shops is a disgrace.


    • Joamiq

      Looks like the Red Bulls are doing their best to be even worse than they were last year. This is going to be great. I look forward to not going to the new stadium to watch the train wreck that this team will inevitably be.


    • anovato

      this could work for the red bulls

      they are going away from what did not work (domestic coaches), an experiment with the foreign born

      a new mindset could change the style of play, and improve the team, but time will tell of course


    • fischy

      As a United fanatic myself, I’m hoping for a return to glory. However, United needs more than a head coach to accomplish that. It’s gonna require a near complete roster overhaul. I’d say the Union is already ahead of DC in that sense, with several good expansion draftees that would be stars on DC, along with Seitz, White, a possible DP and the first pick in the SuperDraft. Nowak, et al, are doing nearly as well as Seattle did in it’s first preseason.


    • Teddie Boy Eddie

      Chris and Josh D, nice rational posts.

      Sure, MLS is different than leagues overseas, but why do people automatically assume a foreigner won’t be able to the grasp the constraints? It’s not like MLS is a brand new league. I would have to think anyone coming here to manage would have a fairly good idea what they’re getting into, particularly following Ruud’s high-profile failure and subsequent comments about MLS.

      But please don’t read this as optimism about whatever choice RBNY makes. That would be crazy. As is always the case with this franchise, hoping for the best and expecting the worst.


    • fischy

      You’re selling yourself short in calling Agoos the “Number 1 A hole”. Give yourself some credit. No one’s got you beat. Who else would call out someone they don’t know as an “A hole”, just because they didn’t succeed in putting forward a good soccer team. ‘Goos has nothing on you.


    • Eric_the_King

      Very true and valid points made by Chris and Josh D… and Teddie Boy for that matter. I can’t argue that foreign coaching influence will be detrimental in any sense. In fact, I do feel that in several ways it helps boost the image and credibility of the league when we can attract such coaching (albeit not immensely high-profile foreign coaches). But even Ives chimed in really quickly to note that the support system doesn’t seem solid enough for an outsider to truly succeed. And when I say succeed, I don’t mean go one better than last year. It’s been over a decade and we’d like to see some tangible success.

      I think the biggest disappointment is that RBNY supporters finally felt some stability with Richie back at the helm, and we know he deserves the chance. Now we have to go through this rollercoaster ride of doom again. And the fact that Agoos is still associated with the club is enough to unsettle any supporter.


    • paul

      Adams is to managers as Lalas is to GMs. They both have ruined all they touch. As for the Fire, what a joke. Fire a winning manager and replace him with a player who has hardly coached, and never managed. Total rubbish from obvious incompetents.


    • Henry

      I agree with Ives, the scariest thing of it all is Jeff Agoof still being employed by RBNY….


    • Your Uncle, Juan Carlos Osorio

      Ives, you forget to take home your leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. My wife will drop them off.


    • TimK

      From Fire Fan,

      As for our coaching search. If we just fired Hamlett becasue we are looking for a new direction, why in the world would we hire Armas who has no experienced and learned under the same system as Hamlett.

      This is not how we improve on the last two seasons.

      We must go over seas and get a more offensive coach. With Klopas as Technical Director we have the MLS experience we need.

      GO OVER SEAS! We need MLS to take the next step from boring defending soccer to attractive soccer.


    • Neil

      The Red Bulls are going to be run by two guys without MLS experience?

      Good luck figuring out college drafts, expansion drafts, weighted lotteries, allocations, discovery claims, waivers, roster-exempt players, designated-player slots, guaranteed contracts, and the salary cap.

      (SBI-Presumably this is all the stuff Jeff Agoos can help with (ducks).)


    • inkedAG

      I am so over RBNY.Since 2006 the ownership has gotten it all wrong and they continue to do so. DONE!


    • FredMacmurray

      I am so fed up with RBNY I am actually ready to switch my allegiance to the Union. I live about half way between stadiums, but hve always been a NY sports fan – this would be a first for me, but the RedBulls make it really hard to route for them


    • Tim

      How much do the RBNY hate you Ives for your criticism? I whole heartily agree with you, but I’m just curious if they resent your commentary at all.

      (SBI-I can’t imagine that they enjoy it but I write what I feel needs to be written. I would be fine writing stories about how well-run the Red Bulls are, but that just hasn’t been reality. When the day comes that Red Bull is running the club properly and succeeding I’ll be first in line to give them credit. Just not sure if and when that will happen.)


    • Scott A

      RBNY, you better get a coach with MLS experience or at least one with a massive willingness to learn its ins and outs, or F you


    • CoachK

      Fishy your poor little man Obviously you know 0 about soccer the RB catastophe that unfolded or the train wreck that they are now on. Agoos is the # 1 A hole who drove this train but I guess there is none so blind as those who will not see? Open your eyes Fishy?! Tell me 3 good trades that Ahole Agoos did VS the 15 or so that he F..d up?

      Coach K

      Ps See how many other posts actually like Agoos the A hole VS how many agree with me..so unless he is arelative of yours,why are you defending him?


    • c

      Looks like you copy and pasted those *relative* links from the ussoccer website. Because they are pointing back to invalid URLS on this site.


    • Joe

      MLS and the EPL are a little different in quality. He should come to the Fire. I would take him in a heartbeat. Only the Metros wouldnt want an ex prem manager…


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