Former MetroStars execs among leading candidates to be new Red Bulls director

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Less than a week after the departure of former Red Bulls managing director Marc deGrandpre comes word that two former MetroStars executives have emerged as leading candidates to replace him.

MLS senior vice president Nelson Rodriguez and former MetroStars Chief Operating Officer Tom Neale are among the top contenders to move into the managing director role vacated when deGrandpre left to take a position with a company outside MLS, sources have told SBI. Both candidates boast well-rounded resumes and strong ties to the club known formerly as the MetroStars.

The MetroStars director of soccer operations in 1998 and 1999, Rodriguez was recently promoted to senior vice president of Strategic Business Development by MLS after spending four years serving as VP of international business for Soccer United Marketing, the league’s marketing arm.

Neale has spent the past three years working in the private sector after spending three and a half years as Chief Operating Officer of the MetroStars before being let go in a cost-cutting measure by AEG. Prior to that, Neale spent five years with the San Jose Earthquakes, including a term as general manager during which time he hired head coach Frank Yallop, who went on to win two MLS Cup titles with the Earthquakes.

So why Neale and Rodriguez? Neale boasts a weath of experience after spending eight years in the league. He helped San Jose build a foundation for two championships and also served as COO during the most financially successful period in the history of the MetroStars/Red Bulls. Neale was also heavily involved with the club’s efforts to build a stadium in Harrison, which would give him an edge in handling the completion and opening of Red Bull Park.

Neale also has ties to the current Red Bulls leadership, having brought current technical director Jeff Agoos to San Jose as a player. Agoos served as captain on the Earthquakes 2001 and 2003 championship teams. Neale is also familiar with Osorio, having interviewed Osorio was a finalist to replace Octavio Zambrano as head coach following the 2002 season.

Rodriguez boasts a diverse soccer resume on all levels of the game. After serving as MetroStars director of soccer operations, Rodriguez took a position as MLS director of player personnel, which he held for four years before taking over as vice president of international business for SUM. He also boasts experience as a college head coach, having guided Lafayette to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 in 1995, as well as an assistant coach for men’s and women’s teams at Rutgers.

What do you think of these candidates? Share your thoughts below

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20 Responses to Former MetroStars execs among leading candidates to be new Red Bulls director

  1. el fur de ball says:

    What? No Charlie Stillatano? Maybe he can bring Donadoni out of retirement and any other washed up former Italian nationals to actually field some semblence of a Defense.

  2. Dannyc58 says:

    Those candidates sound strong…I like it.

    But, you forgot Guppy ;)

  3. Pat Pug says:

    You have no idea how scared I was to scroll down and see that Nick Sakiewicz was already leaving Philly to make his triumphant return to New York after reading that headline.

  4. inkedAG says:

    Based solely on your write-up, it seems like Tom Neale is the better candidate.

  5. Tim F. says:

    The director will need to ensure the stadium and training facilities will meet the state of the art expectations established for them as well as complete them “on time;” continue the current efforts focused on enhancing the fan experience; continue to develop enhanced corporate partnerships as well as TV and radio coverage; and decide on and oversee effective marketing and advertising campaigns in support of the team.

    Can these candidates do this?

  6. THE Nick says:

    It would be nice if we could lure Wilt over from the hell that is the new women’s league….

    no Giorgio Chinaglia? come on…what a joke….

  7. kpugs says:

    Um, Tim? The designs are the designs, that’s it. They are being built as they were designed.

    There is no possible way any one person can either a) change the designs or b) make a construction company complete building on time. All he can worry about is actually opening the facilities.

  8. smorebs says:

    Sounds like 2 good options. I would be comfortable with either. Thank god the energy drink is not promoting from with in again.

  9. Bill says:

    These bozo’s don’t know anything but contacts within MLS and how MetroStars ‘worked’. But, lets be honest MetroStars did an awful job at attracting patrons and besides the tv contract did nothing ‘better’ then the Red Bulls have done.

    If we actually want a GM with ‘connections’ and ‘drive’ – we need real GM – Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils..or Glen Sather, NY Rangers ..or Omar Minaya, NY Mets. Got to spend money to make money.

    They know the markets, the politics and the corporations. Why do MLS teams keep dipping into the ‘shallow end’ of the (managment) pool is beyond me.

    If they’re not going to go with success via resume, then go with ‘name power’ of a Beckenbauer (if that’s even possible). But, a ‘been their done that’ ex-metrostar employee – is kind of a step back. Might as well hire Guppy.

  10. VictorM says:

    I don’t know the guys that Bill mentioned, but I agree that we need someone who knows the market and how to sell. Frankly, being a soccer person may be a plus, but who cares? We have a Sporting Director and a Coach; they’re enough on the soccer side. What we need is a person who can sell the sport and the team.

  11. Marc says:

    Another edge for Neale could be that his wife is very senior in the MLS heirarchy.

  12. Giorgio Chinaglia says:

    I am the only man for the job! Only I can draw the crowds! Only I can make it work! I am the great Chinaglia!!!!!

  13. Joe Namath says:

    Was it Shep Messing who was talking up Guppy during the Saturday broadcast?

  14. irishapple21 says:

    Guppy is a disaster and should never be allowed to set foot anywhere near our organization ever again. MPF, anyone?

  15. Michael F. says:

    Met Nelson back in his Rutgers days and again a few times since he’s been at MLS. I don’t think there is a smarter, nicer, more buttoned up guy for the job. I hope he gets it.

  16. Dan D says:

    The only person for the job is Mike Magee. In the history of the New York franchise, who has had more time spent than he? Six years. You think he may be too young; only 23 years of age? Okay so he’s still a kid. He couldn’t do much worse. Back to reality, by the time he becomes old enough to serve in the position I’m sure there will be an avialabiltiy. Stick around Mike, we could use you!!

  17. Bruce Arena says:

    This is the job I have always wanted anyway, I’ll give them a call today.

  18. Matt in SF says:

    For the record, Jeff Agoos and San Jose won MLS Cup in 2001 & 2003, but not in 2004.

  19. adam says:

    why would either of those guys want the job? its been made clear that all directives come from austria so these guys would just be local mouthpieces and puppets for europe with no actual input. last i checked there were not strings attached to their arms and legs….best bet for these two is to stay where they are – they’re better off

  20. Brian.MLS says:

    Hands down, Tom Neale.