With visa in sight, Rodgers eyes return to RBNY

BY DAVE MARTINEZ

It has been over a year since Luke Rodgers wore a Red Bulls uniform.

He is hoping he won’t have to wait much longer to do so again.

After many months of silence, Rodgers opened up to Soccer By Ives in his first public statements since being unceremoniously pulled away from the club last season, and the conversation began exactly where it ended; with his visa situation.

Ever hopeful to rejoin the club, Rodgers feels the way is now paved for him to do so – if the Red Bulls will have him.

“I personally think I’ve had some positive news on my visa in the last couple of weeks, so I think I’ll be getting my visa in December,” Rodgers revealed. “If I did get my visa, now that Erik (Soler) is gone, now that Hans (Backe) is gone, there is a lot (that’s happened) with the people that signed me. I don’t really know who is there now.

“I’d love to come back and play.”

For the better part of the 2012 season, it always seemed Rodgers was a step away from obtaining his visa but consistently fell short of the mark. The diminutive English striker says this time is different. “I feel really confident,” he said. “I can’t really say too much about it, but I feel really confident. With the news I’ve been told, obviously, I feel very confident I’ll get it this time.”

Up to this point, the only information made available to the press was an ambiguous statement from then-General Manager Erik Soler claiming the visa issue did not stem from any criminal or major legal issue. Rodgers cleared up the confusion.

“I overstayed my visa,” he said matter-of-factly. “It was the main reason. The team got to the playoffs and my visa, I should have went back in October and I never went back until November. When it came to re-apply, that was one of the main reasons.”

Rodgers’ initial visa was only approved for a year and expired in October. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls were in the playoffs against the L.A. Galaxy that would extend their calendar year into November. Neither Rodgers nor the Red Bulls organization anticipated such a difficult battle would ensue to re-obtain his visa after what seemed to be, on the surface, an innocent oversight.

“There was no idea whatsoever,” Rodgers admitted. “I never envisioned or anticipated it and neither did the Red Bulls. They did work really, really hard to get me back – really, really hard. There was obviously Hans (Backe), Ricardo (Campos), Erik (Soler), Juan (Kuri) … between the four of them, they worked really, really hard to try and get me back. Then, unfortunately for me, it never happened, but I still really, really miss it out there a lot. I miss New York.”

Recently, Rodgers was loaned to Shrewsbury Town of England’s League One from his home club of Portsmouth. The move holds a special place for him as it is where he began his professional career and also gets him a step closer to his home. Nevertheless, with situations finally clearing up for him and a potential visa in sight, Rodgers hopes he can get one more shot with the team he never wanted to leave.

“I loved it there,” he stated. “I always look out for the result. It’s the first result that I check, apart from the team I am playing for, that’s the first result I check for. I felt really well they got into the playoffs. I was just absolutely, massively devastated I couldn’t be involved.

“Obviously, I was over there for a year so there are still people there that know what I can do but I am not really heard anything, so I am not too sure what their situation could be. If the situation came up say for me to come back there in January, then I’d definitely do it.

“All I can say is my goal still remains the same and that is to still come back and play for the New York Red Bulls,” he continued. “I still feel the same now as I felt in November last year when I left. I still want to go back, I am desperate to get back. I’ve got friends I speak to out there, I love it there, I love the fans, I love the players, I love the club, and if I ever get the chance to come back, I would walk back. That’s all I can say.”

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36 Responses to With visa in sight, Rodgers eyes return to RBNY

  1. Helium-3 says:

    This guy bleeds for the shirt. If RBNY don’t want him, we could use him in DC. He works hard to create chances for others, very good vision and is a decent finisher.

    • ThaDeuce says:

      He is in love with the Redbulls. If he gets no love back and D.C. showed him some love, I think he would find he loves D.C. more. : )

  2. David M says:

    What does it say about the MLS if a player unable to hack it in Norway and who hasn’t exactly set English third and fourth division on fire, was able to score quite a bit playing for one of the MLS top teams?

    • Beto says:

      That playing in new york is a far better environment to succeed than lower div europe.. At least for rogers, hope he comes back to nyrb the visa stuff is a shame: has that/ would that ever happen in the middle of the nba or mlb playoffs?

    • Colin says:

      We’ve had players who were great in top European leagues who couldn’t hack it here. Its a case-by-case thing.

    • Obie says:

      It means he complimented Henry really, really well. Rodgers was a pest to defenders and defending mids, while Henry was able to get himself into space and wait for opportunities. Neither Cooper nor Le Toux did that much dirty work, Henry tracked back to do it, and while in total he & Cooper remained productive statistically, Henry spent a lot of time just plain angry this year.

      If they dump Le Toux and platoon Cooper and Rodgers to start with Henry, it’s an upgrade from current state. Assuming that Rodgers’ game hasn’t fallen off in the past year.

    • Steve T. says:

      No making excuses but one he has much better talent around him then fourth div english football to make him look good. And also I really think his physicality and playing style it perfect for MLS.

    • MMV says:

      Actually it was a short-term deal with Lillestrom and they knew they weren’t going to keep him as he was trying to get back to the US. He landed back in England as the aforementioned via problems kept him form the US. There has been no indication he couldn’t hack it in Norway. It is a case by case situation. MLS fits his game and he fit in well at RBNY. I think they greatly missed him. He and Henry had a good understanding. If the situation clears itself RBNY should welcome him back, if not several teams will probably be interested.

    • patrick says:

      everyone’s played with a luke rodgers. Not the most skilled, or fastest, or even smartest, but the reason he scores goals is b/c he’s a tough ass dude with a nose for goal, and willingness to do dirty work. That, and playing alongside Henry and folks who could play to his strengths, is why he was so successful with NYRB

    • Vic says:

      Rodgers averaged a goal every three games throughout his career in the English Championship and 2nd division. Sometimes a player doesn’t fit into a system. Shevchenko sucked at Chelsea but was the top scorer in Serie A.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      It might suggest he’s a limited player but it also suggests he is quite productive surrounded with a supporting cast. To the extent you’re implying MLS is weaker, I don’t think it says that. Look at Jozy in Holland. Or even Cooper for RBNY. Sometimes it’s about fit, or the scheme, or the players around you, or the faith of the organization or coach.

    • islandofmind says:

      Who “sets the English 3rd and 4th divisions on fire?” And how would anyone know about it if he did? The fact is MLS is a good fit for his playing style and skills and playing next to Henry gave him space to flourish – pretty sure he didn’t have that sort of help in Norway.

  3. eric says:

    The hunchback of new york

  4. Brain Guy says:

    Bring him back, RBNY!

  5. Nate Dollars says:

    who’s luke rodgers?

  6. The Imperative Voice says:

    It kind of depends on his role and pay packet, if he was a cheap bench player it might be harmless, but to the extent that RBNY is trying to kick open the door they’ve been knocking at for years, I don’t think you do that recycling players who didn’t quite get you there the first run. Plus if the concept is ship out LeToux and sign Rodgers that’s backsliding.

    What NY needs is Marquez gone and a defensive revamp. 57 GF is more than adequate, what they need is a defense and GK setup that allows fewer than 46 GA. But then obsessing about attack to the detriment of defense (I mean, acting like GK can be manned with camp filler) is part of how we get to this point in the first place, no?

    • patrick says:

      so, according to your thought, any team that doesn’t win the title should clear house and start again every year?

      Also, your though about replacing Letoux with Rodgers being a backslide isn’t really accurate. I’ll grant that Letoux didn’t really ever find his place, but Rodgers and Henry have a proven chemistry together, something he didn’t have with ANY NYRB forward in 2012 and that can’t be underestimated.

      Also, Red Bulls went out and got 2 outstanding keepers this year to help their backline, and Meara is clearly a talent, so not exactly camp filler, as you described them as.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Your argument is classic re-write the post ad absurdum nonsense. Where’d I say clean house? I simply said re-uniting the people who couldn’t win you a title before, won’t win you one next year. Do you really believe that Luke Rodgers is The Final Piece?

        Rodgers had 10 goals his only season in MLS. You can get that and more from Henry, Cooper, and LeToux. They all have more goals in a season. To me it sounds like the people here in Houston who actually believe Ching is helping us win at 5G for $200K.

        If the GKing is so great, why’d you allow nearly 50 goals? Vuolo didn’t play. Meara was a random draft pick who allowed 1.5 GA (I see he engenders passion from his fans but the stats don’t reflect he should). Bears reminding that’s how you showed up for day 1….camp filler. Gaudette was later added at 1.33. Ho-hum, cut. You might have a Robles argument — also later added — but 4 games is a tiny sample size. The elite GKs and teams are closer to 1.0 (or below) and your team averaged 1.35. Even if you build around Robles it’s another offseason of restocking NY at keeper.

        And then you just passed over the defense. Again, how can you have this talented an offense, this bad a defense, and yet one of the first offseason foci is bringing back a mediocre forward who didn’t win it the first try? I simply don’t see, no matter how well he gels with an ageing Henry, how even if he has a decent season, an Henry/ Rodgers front line is enough in MLS to earn silverware.

        • RBNY says:

          Who says that we can’t keep Cooper and bring on Luke? Rodgers brings a certain grittiiness that we missed last season. We didn’t get high pressure on the ball at all. When Luke was here, we forced turnovers because he chased down the ball before the defense could get rid of it. With Cooper/Henry, defenses got set up and could start attacks out of the back easily against us. Rodgers would make a huge difference back with the club.

  7. john.q says:

    the new FO and Manager may not have as much heart for him as Backe (they dont have that relationship) did but i hope Henry, the team, and the fans put the pressure on to bring him back. sending Le Toux away will open a space for the bald man.

  8. RBNY says:

    If it is an option, Luke better be back.

  9. Gnarls says:

    I loved hating on Rodgers. Bring back “Shrek”!

  10. bill says:

    classic english hack, perfect for MLS. lets hope porter can fix MLS

  11. Eugene says:

    Awesome, come back to NY!

  12. GiorgioChinaglia says:

    Kinda disappointing. Overstayed his visa? We were hoping for something more felonious.

  13. Sean says:

    I like Rodgers. Nice to see his support of the club and his attitude and eagerness for returning. I hope he gets his shot.

    But, I’m still a bit aggravated at how the Juan Agudelo situation was handled. That kid should be in New York. He belongs in New York as an academy product. I blame Backe and Soler for the situation in which he wasn’t playing. He’s the striker I’d prefer to have back. Actually, let Henry go. Bring Rodgers and Agudelo back into the fold.

  14. slowleftarm says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here but I have zero desire to see this guy back in a NYRB shirt. I would definitely prefer bringing Cooper back as opposed to Rogers. I know Henry doesn’t like playing with Cooper but Henry also thinks Connor Lade is a good player so I’m not sure his judgment as a talent evaluator is that great.

    • Amit says:

      More like Henry thinks Rafa is still a marquee player which makes me question his ability to evaluate talent

  15. Pingback: Poll: Should Red Bulls give Luke Rodgers a second shot? » Empire of Soccer - New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, NY2, MLS, USMNT, and World Soccer

  16. Tim F. says:

    Yes!!!!

  17. Scott A says:

    Baby come back

  18. Danny Davies says:

    Hes staying on loan at Shrewsbury until January 1st where he will sign until the rest of the season. Its his home club the club that brought him through their youth system into playing professional football. 46 games a season in League One, FA Cup, League Cup, FL Trophy ok average gates at Shrewsbury are only 6,000 but it just down the road 30 minutes from his home. He loved his time at NY but there is no place like home to end your carreer.