BY DAVE MARTINEZ
Luke Rodgers was expected to have an answer to his application for a work visa today, but it looks as though he and the New York Red Bulls will be waiting even longer to find out if their starting forward will be back in MLS in 2012.
The Red Bulls released the following statement this afternoon regarding the ongoing visa issues surrounding striker Luke Rodgers on Thursday afternoon:
“Luke met with the United States Consulate in London earlier today and the outcome was positive, as he took a step forward in his visa approval process to return to the country. There are still issues to be addressed. However, we are hopeful and quietly confident that Luke will be able to join the club soon. Because his case is still pending, we cannot elaborate any further.”
Red Bulls General Manager Erik Soler addressed the issue last month, claiming the hold-up was based on a small infraction, unrelated to the law. “There was some minor issue before he entered the USA last year. Meaning he got his visa, it was a very minor issue, nothing to do with the police or anything,” Soler said. “It was a minor issue, but enough for them to delay the process.”
This same issue continues to hold back the Englishman’s chances of obtaining a work permit.
Rodgers was an integral part of the Red Bulls attack last season, forming a dynamic pair with Thierry Henry up top. Though he missed a handful of games due to a bout with plantar fasciitis, he was a game changer when available. Through 20 matches, the team earned nine of its ten wins on the season with Rodgers in the lineup.
New York has put a positive spin on today’s outcome, but they have also openly discussed the possibility of acquiring a comparable striker to the team if Rodgers is unable to rejoin them. Backe has gone so far as to indicate that a few options have already been discussed to fill in that role.
Rodgers future continues to be up in the air. Share your thoughts on today’s developments below.