MLS- New York Red Bulls

Red Bulls assistants Williams, McAleenan fired (UPDATED)

RichieDes (ISIPhotos.com) 

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

New York Red Bulls assistant coaches Richie Williams and Des McAleenan, who have served a combined 15 seasons as coaches for New York, have been fired.

The Washington Post reported on Monday afternoon that the two assistants were let go for what sources were calling "repeated violations of club rules"

(UPDATED) The Red Bulls confirmed on Monday evening that they have released Williams and McAleenan from their coaching duties. Calls to Williams and McAleenan were not returned.

Williams joined the Red Bulls coaching staff as an assistant for head coach Mo Johnston in 2006 and has sinced worked under Red Bulls head coaches Bruce Arena, Juan Carlos Osorio and Hans Backe. He has served as the team's interim head coach on two occasions, compiling a 4-6-4 record during those stints. Considered one of the most highly-regarded assistants in MLS, Williams has been a candidate for multiple head coaching openings in MLS, but had been seen as a potential successor to Backe before these recent developments.

McAleenan has been the Red Bulls' goalkeeper coach since 2002, coaching under five different head coaches and had developed a reputation as one of the best goalkeeper coaches in MLS.

Removing two key members of the coaching staff just three weeks before the start of the season would be a shocking development, particularly considering the remainder of the current full-time coaching staff consists of newly-hired assistant Jan Halvor Halvorsen. Recently retired Red Bulls defender Mike Petke has been working as an individual developmental coach, among a variety of roles he's taken on with the club, and he could be moved into a more full-time role as an assistant.

We'll pass along more information as it becomes available.

  • RealsoccerFC

    I can wait and find out the real story but it doesnt change the fact that Backe is an arrogant SOB and I will thoroughly enjoy his downfall.


  • dan

    From the RB web site “As an organization, we decided to go a different direction with our coaching staff,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “We want to thank Richie and Des for their contributions to our franchise and wish them good luck in their future endeavors.”


  • Jolivernyc

    After 16 years of supporting this club, last year I finally felt like we were in the hands of folks who knew what they were doing. Thanks to Erik Stover, we’d moved out of Giants Stadium and into the best facility in American soccer. Soler added depth and quality to the worst squad in MLS history, highlighted by the pick-up of Joel Lindpere. Hans Backe had given the squad a bit of confidence and swagger and had them playing attractive, inspired soccer. A worst to first transition was more than we could have hoped for in their first year.

    Red Bull fans have never gone into a season with the level of expectation that we have now. Sure, Angel was jettisoned. Two DPs playing up front couldn’t work, especially considering Angel never had the pace that Hans desires up top. Still, losing the club’s best ever player stung.

    Now this. We lose two coaches who had served the clubs through good times and bad. Des had morphed an athletic enigma named Bouna Condoul into one of the top goalkeepers in MLS, someone capable of stealing three points as he did against Kansas City late in the year.

    Richie is a local guy, who did an admirable job as the club’s interim coach and had every right to feel hard done by when he wasn’t offered the gig full time. He didn’t sulk. He joined Hans’ staff. He was the architect of perhaps the greatest draft class in MLS history, providing the club with two starters this year. With the 18th pick he landed a centerback who should be starting for the US at the Gold Cup this summer.

    The fact that these moves were made less than three weeks before the start of the season is a bizarre. There has to be more to this story. I can’t imagine Hans would leave himself with only one assistant coach less than 20 days before the season kicks off. I’m sure details will emerge in the coming days that will allow Red Bull fans to make more sense of this move. However, this story gave me a very skeptical feeling for the first time this winter.


  • KevDC

    So they are going to “go a different direction with our coaching staff” three weeks before the season starts?




  • chris

    Don’t worry richie will be back with another team to butt f*ck the red bulls

    He was probally smoking a little weed in mexico


  • Bull on Parade

    Hate to see them go but they must have done something. And all this talk of Backe being arrogant is ridiculous. All good coaches are. He isn’t the head coach to make friends. He’s there to do a job. Anyone ever want The Special One to leave their team because he’s arrogant? I think not.


  • Keith G.

    Wow this came as a shock to me. Two of the best coaches in the league are now gone. Who ever gets these guys will get great coaches. I am now just hoping that the club has two big names in mind to fill the spots. How about bringing in Oliver Kahn to be the GK coach, now that would really get our guys over, lol.


  • Dave

    First off I like both these guys, but if you have been late for your job on several occassions you will probably get fired. They have probably been disciplined behind the scenes previously (if all this is true).

    Second we are talking about assistant coaches, I have been a Metro/RB fan since day one, and I have never gone to a game to watch the assistants. Everyone will move on in a week and we’ll all watch RB win the cup this year.


  • solles

    well that pretty much eliminates the need to post at all. k all, night, go home, it’s all shut down, leftcoastmetro (is there such a thing?) has closed all possible discussion.


  • solles

    go back to DC Richie… go back to DC! Maybe that would be wierd to assist Ben Olsen, but maybe some job within the organization.


  • tylawfan1

    So Richie Williams isn’t good enough for NYRB but Luke Rodgers is? Backe won’t be able to keep the team top of the East for much longer and in a short amount of time he is going to have worn out his welcome. This is the single most bone-headed move I’ve ever seen in MLS. What a good example to set for the club, that long service, sacrifice and loyalty will go unrewarded… Whatever was the reason for the firing better be damnnnn good…


  • 4now

    Patience. The Soler/Backe regime has been very deliberate in their actions. And pretty up front in general. With this happening so suddenly, I would imagine that something suddenly happened. It very well be S/B who were put in an uncomfortable position, and they are the ones being discrete. Regardless, very unfortunate this time of year for all involved.


  • Seriously

    This reeks. Something isn’t right here, I need more facts. Right now it just doesn’t really add up and the “repeated violations” seem fishy.


  • Badger

    “pretty much guarantees they won’t be able to get MLS jobs this season”

    Disagree, the first thought that crossed my mind when I read the story was “New DC United assistant coach, incoming in 5,4,3…”


  • CS Roesler

    My feeling is that they did violate club rules. What that entails…wait for the official statement. Both have been great coaches for the organization and I can only wish them the best for the future. From a personal perspective..it sucks. But I hold complete judgement until we have all the facts.


  • chupacabra

    The problem is that there actually are some serious idiots over at RBNY . . .


  • casar barrientos

    to be honest i will miss Richie but Mc f…. no,any real GK coach would know what i mean when they see him training,there is no real training just by looking at mistakes that our keepers make you can tell that working on fundamentals does not exist.Is a joke am glad he is gone,they should have keept Andrew Sparks as a GK coach.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    Backe wants his own assistants. Nothing more, nothing less. But we will never get the whole truth…they can’t say that. It will be interesting to see where they land. Ives, any idea if RB is on the hook to pay them their salaries for the season?


  • Berry

    I heard the they’v been having exploratory conversation to the NY Cosmos. Look for announcement soon.


  • DC Josh prioritizes his life

    Very shady. Can’t wait to hear the details about why they were fired. In the meantime…

    Coach Olsen should be on the phone right now.


  • JoeW

    Especially given the club’s “official” statement (“we have decided to go in a different direction), this sounds to me like Backe had an opportunity to hire one or two of his own guys, they weren’t available earlier, they are available now and so that’s what’s happening. Completely understandable. Not very classy b/c it does screw these two assistants–highly unlikely either would get a gig with an MLS club at this point and college soccer is out of season so no rush to hire.

    Whether it’s a “smart” decision…time will tell.


  • dan

    The most dreaded words any employee wants to hear his employer say “We want to thank you for your contributions to our franchise and wish you good luck in your future endeavors.”


  • Dainja

    In college football, “repeated rules violations” usually means folks were caught smokin weed. Seriously. LSU Chris Tiger knows what I mean. I went to Auburn, and whenever we kick someone off the team for gettin high…that is the term we use. LET – THEM – BLAZE!! haha.


  • ga-gone

    No job this season? I assure you DC United will be looking for a new coach before the year is out.

    BTW, enjoy the move to Baltimore.


  • ga-gone

    Point of information: If you watch the inside the draft video onmlssoccer.com from last year, it seems pretty clear that Ream was Soler’s pick, not Richie’s.


  • Ronny

    Agree that this smells– Scandanavian cartel closing ranks? Do we really want to become a purely Norway system (how have they done in club and world cup comp?!) Odd that NYRB mgmt including Backe have praised Richie regularly (check NYTImes blog today). Richie is known for good chemistry with players and strong views on the game – maybe these became a threat to Backe if his own player rapport is weak? (rumors from last year). Why not bring in his own boys from norway or wherever…problem is they, like Backe, have minimal experience in this league and with such a diverse group of players. NYRB fans deserve an explanation. We need more info, but this looks B-league from here…not good sign for program.


  • Inca

    This is good…Shows Backe is the man. I like his style. There isn’t going to be too many cooks in the kitchen with this club.


  • sholata

    Days later and still not a word as to why these moves were taken, and why now? Explanations are owed. In half a century of watching sports, I’ve never heard of anything remotely close to this. The Knicks wouldn’t do this. Wellington Mara would not dream of doing this. Even crazy George Steinbrenner wouldn’t attempt a crack head move like firing assistants on the eve of a season. No business would even consider a comparable change like this. Explanations are owed.


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