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Red Bulls Notes: Wait continues for Rodgers, Conde fit for selection and more


Photo by Michael Janosz/


The New York Red Bulls were awaiting an update on the status of Luke Rodgers’ on-going attempts to secure a working visa this past Wednesday. What they received instead was an unwelcome wrinkle to the proceedings that leaves the Englishman’s fate as uncertain as it ever was.

"The problem right now is with another organization, Homeland (Security)," Coach Hans Backe revealed during Thursday’s media day gathering. "Yes, I think that’s the organization that will say yes or no."

Rodgers, who overstayed his one-year visa last summer, has been struggling to renew his status with the U.S. Embassy throughout the offseason. He has a criminal history that includes an assault charge on an opposing player after a hotly contested match and reckless endangerment when he lit a firecracker that hit a 16-year-old girl in the face, causing significant injuries.

According to Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler, these incidents were not the reason his visa was being contested. Instead, an unspecified “minor issue” which happened shortly before Rodgers obtained his visa last season seemed to be causing the hold up.

Regardless, the organization may put an end to the waiting game if there isn’t a resolution on the matter. 

“We need to wait for an answer," Backe said. "We can’t start doing things without having an answer. I know I said we would have an answer in yesterday, everyone told me that.  So if we didn’t get it yesterday, it will be in a few days, it will be definitely in a week.”

Asked just how long the organization would wait, Backe stated, "We need an answer by Sunday (of next week). The way these things are, it could be two weeks, it could be six months and we are well into the season."

According to Backe, the team has "two (specific) or a few" strikers they are currently targeting if Rodgers becomes unavailable, but they could not move on those fronts until his situation is resolved. 

"We need to get a guy much similar to Luke," Backe said. "We have some names."


While the Red Bulls await final word on Rodgers, they are on the verge of welcoming Wilman Conde to the field.

Conde was not at practice Thursday, as the Colombian defender had to travel to Mexico to "sign a paper for his license" according to Backe, but he is expected to return to the club on Friday. Backe indicated that Conde would still be considered to play for this weekend's home opener. Through the first two games, the Red Bulls have relied on Stephen Keel and Markus Holgersson in central defense while they wait for Conde to get fit.

Conde, who hasn't played a first-team match in almost a year after needing surgery on his left instep was re-injured in the preseason, suffering a thigh strain. 


The Red Bulls announced a July 31 encounter against English power Tottenham, in a match dubbed the inaugural "New York Invitational Cup." The event will be held at Red Bull Arena and will be included into the season ticket holders package at no charge.

"Tottenham has been one of the top EPL teams over the past several years and we are thrilled to play host to them at Red Bull Arena," Red Bulls president of business operations Chris Heck said in a press release. "We are also excited to bring an elite international club as a reward for our season ticket holders and the supporters for both clubs."

The club plans on making an event of the match, offering exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities for their season ticket holders as well as an open practice invitation and autograph session.


  • Teemu Tainio, who suffered a heavy ankle bruise against Real Salt Lake last Saturday, will be evaluated by the training staff on Friday to see if he would be fit to join the team for the home opener. Rafa Marquez, who returns from a two-game suspension, is available to take his place in the lineup.
  • Michael Ballack has been a hot button issue for the Red Bulls as of late. Asked to weigh in on the possibility of acquiring him, Thierry Henry simply stated, "Who wouldn’t like to play with Michael Ballack?"
  • A pair of team sources claim the Red Bulls have sold as many as 23,000 seats for their home opener against Colorado on Sunday.


  1. If this is a serious post by someone not employed by NYRB or with last name of Soler or Backe… I at least give you credit for having your own voice! But please watch a game before your next post.

  2. Last year Rogers blasted a ball by the sidelines into the opposing teams’ fans. I mean he tattooed it. There was a young girl standing right behind the field boards, if she hadn’t moved her head slightly the ball would have struck her square in the face. He hit it as hard as he could. I so wish, not for the poor girl’s sake, that it had hit her, so Rogers would be exposed as the thug he is.

  3. Palsson and Holgersson have been decent players for only having played 2 games in this country.

    Add in a Rodgers or a replacement for him and a DP in the summer and NY is back in business…

  4. I for one am fine with the fact that a guy like Luke Rogers is not a top priority that should be rushed through the immigration/homeland security process. I trust and hope that our agencies have a lot on their hands that rank above a brawler from the English second division trying to get back into the country after he violated the conditions of his stay in the US. Doesn’tmatter how confused (or incompetent) the NYRB front office are over the matter.

  5. Don’t worry, Soler/Backe are never worried. And we don’t even need to scout the Brazilian leagues or US national team youth pool for a talented replacement up front. Soler/Backe are using their network to find a striker version of the next Victor Palsson or Markus Holgersson from the Icelandic or Finish leagues. We will be fine and the fans will pack the stadium once again!!

  6. True enough. And overstaying a previous visa may be another bar. But it does seem to be taking an awfully long time to resolve the case one way or another. Either Rodgers (or his lawyer, or RBNY and/or their lawyers) overlooked something or waited way too long, or the wheels of the bureaucracy turn very slowly.

  7. I am against grown men throwing firecrackers that hit 16-year old girls. There, I said it hope that make you happy. I’m also against people overstaying their visas. That being said I’m not sure why Rodgers needs to keep going to the Consular office without getting an answer. (Maybe they’re soccer fans and want to discuss Backe’s strategy).

    FYI, Ives site doesn’t offer spell check. Perhaps you could email him since poor spelling really bothers you.

  8. Um, how do I put this.

    1. They are American and already here.
    2. they did the crime, paid the cost. STFU!
    3. About the past … Get over it


    4.”I don’t understand” – Most honest thing you said on this board.

    Good day good sir.

  9. What’s the big to-do about his criminal history? So he got in a bust-up with another player and there was a firecracker accident. How many active NFL players are there with worse criminal histories? How about Michael Vick? Or Plaxico Burress? Seriously, we need to get past those items of Rodgers that are way in the past.

    Like many, I don’t understand the hold up with just granting this guy a visa, or what he did to irritate INS so much (or whoever the visa-granting body is), but if the Red Bulls can’t get it done with Luke, they need to move on to a replacement player and get this show on the road.

  10. I don’t think the problem is because of the overstaying the visa. He would have had to stay 6 months past the expiration of his work visa petition to incur a bar. Since the issue is with DHS, I’m guessing that Rodgers was determined to have a permanent ineligibility that would require a waiver from DHS.

  11. “The problem right now is with another organization, Homeland (Security),” Coach Hans Backe revealed during Thursday’s media day gathering. “Yes, I think that’s the organization that will say yes or no.”- Backe

    I other words, “I don’t know what the f is going on. How about I blame Homeland Security? What day is it? Where am I?”

  12. Obviously you do not know US immigration law. If an applicant was determined to have an ineligibility such as overstaying their visa or having convictions that rise to a crime involving moral turpitude, the Department of State through its embassies and consulates around the world cannot issue a visa. BY LAW, Homeland Security is the only organization that can grant a waiver to the ineligibility. The only other way he could get a visa, without DHS granting a waiver, is if Congress passed a bill that would grant Rodgers amnesty for violating the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1996. FYI, overstaying a visa can lead to a bar starting at 3 yrs before you are permitted to enter the US again. If you are convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, that’s a permanent ban on entering the US unless you get a waiver again from DHS. What I imagine is taking place is that Consular Officer discovered that Rodgers has an ineligibility, applied the law baring him but requested a waiver from the DHS. The DHS now must determine if they grant a waiver or not. How about instead of complaining about the Consular Officer doing his job by following the law, you criticize the person who violated the law. FYI, you misspelled bureaucracy.

  13. A simple yes or no by the US Embassy would be nice. Typical government beuaracracy waisting time. If they moved quicker on matters like this, they would have more resources to determine real terrorists trying to enter USA.

  14. NYRB can do nothing right. Someone in the NYRB organization should have made sure he got on that plane before his visa expiration or at least walked him across the Canadian border so he could come back on a tourist visa. I want Rogers back and think he is exactly the type of player the MLS needs.

  15. As much as I enjoy watch Rodgers’s energy,, goals and the Red Bulls win when he is in the lineup, you have to question is he even deserves entry in the US? Setting off fireworks on a 14 year old girls face, an assault charge, and now an issue so big Backe won’t even define it and has Homeland Security involved? Well, there’s always the NBA.

  16. Exactly. Backe saying the “problem” is with Homeland Security is a laugh…there are plenty of problems with HS, but a person overstaying his visa is a failing of intelligence on Rodgers’ part. Just who exactly is advising this idiot?

  17. A few names bull c***& I don’t mean Red. Do these guys realize how they can destroy this organization? I’ve seen more NYRB shirt in Brooklyn & Manhattan the past 2wks than I have the 5 yrs

  18. I do not know who the red bull can sign to replace Luke Rodgers. He is the player who give them the killer instinct. When he does not play they are too happy in possession. I would prefer to see the red bull pass on ballack.


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