Meola interested in returning to RBNY as coach

BY DAVE MARTINEZ

Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh told local media that he would be looking at both European and American options as the New York Red Bulls continue to vet their coaching prospects.

Could Tony Meola be on that short list?

Though he doesn’t have professional coaching experience in the top ranks, the Hall of Fame goalkeeper has a history in New York both with the Metrostars and as a member of the Red Bulls. He has consistently trained MLS goalkeepers throughout the years and has also been heavily involved in U.S. soccer youth development. His wish to enter the professional coaching ranks is also no secret, most recently telling NY Times reporter Clemente Lisi he “wants to coach at the highest level.”

Meola met with Red Bulls President Jerome de Bontin and expressed his desire to return to the team. Though coy about his intentions, he revealed another meeting would take place shortly between him and senior Red Bull officials.

“I’m going to meet again with Red Bull,” Meola told SBI. “I did speak to (Red Bulls Global Director of Soccer) Houllier briefly in New York and Los Angeles. We have known we will sit down with Red Bull brass after the MLS Cup.” Houllier, who has reportedly traveled back to Europe, would not be part of those meetings.

“I think it’s time for me to get involved,” he continued. “I’ve taken time figuring out what the right situation was and this hopefully will be what I hope to be the right situation.”

There has been a disconnect between both former player and organization since his departure back in 2007. “Well when I played at Red Bull, it was the beginning stages,” he recounted. “We didn’t really get a great feel for the organization. When they finally did the stadium, and everything changed, I had zero contact with Red Bull. They never once called me. Matter of fact, when I finally had contact through another coach in the league that called me, he said ‘Hey, you need to go tall to Erik Soler. He didn’t know you were living in New Jersey!’

“I was flying in under the radar,” he conceded, “but when (management) changed, I wanted to make a point of trying to find a friend to introduce me to Jerome. I wanted to make a point to introduce myself to Jerome to at least to say I live in New Jersey! That’s how the whole thing started.”

Once Meola had his desired audience, he made an impassioned pitch to return. “They are looking for guys who care about the organization, who understand the organization, understand the area,” he said. “I told them look, I have one thing that burns in my stomach every day of my life and I don’t regret a lot – I don’t regret anything I did in soccer really – except that I never won a championship in New York.

“I don’t care how far you look,” he continued, “you will never find somebody that it burns more than me. I’ll never have the opportunity again as a player but I may have the opportunity in another way and I want to explore that.”

Sources close to the situation say his name has been discussed, but as part of a larger scale plan to revamp the coaching staff. Interim coach Mike Petke continues to be in the team’s long term plans but not necessarily as the eventual head coach. This week, another post opened with the firing of goalkeeping coach Todd Hoffard. Meola has shown no desire to take up a goalkeeping coach position. He is looking for something bigger.

“Jerome knows where I think I can help out both on and off the field and it’s up to them to figure out where I would fit into their plans if any,” he concluded. “I don’t know what will happen. I know I told Jerome that I think I can help in a few areas and those areas I will keep between him and I and the rest of the group when I meet them.

“I’m looking forward to having a discussion and seeing what the thoughts are.”

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22 Responses to Meola interested in returning to RBNY as coach

  1. Don Ho says:

    GO MEATBALL!!!!

  2. The Imperative Voice says:

    Except does he have any head coaching experience anywhere? I could see him feeling like GK coach is beneath him but usually you don’t jump past a first division assistant’s job or a minor league (Wynalda, Rennie), college (Porter), or youth club head coach gig, to running a first division team.

  3. Bobb says:

    Not sure how he would be as a coach, but I’ve heard he is a bit of a jerk.

    • Pete says:

      He is the coach of his son’s [terrible] youth soccer team and I’ve reffed them a few times. He is one of the most annoying coaches I’ve ever reffed as he non-stop complains about ticky tack fouls the entire game. On top of that his team is terrible which reflects is possible ineptitude as a coach

    • nando says:

      interesting, i’ve heard the same

    • RK says:

      Surely he is no John Harkes…what a great radio pair!

  4. Chris says:

    I don’t know if he’d be a great coach, but I’d sure love to bring back a former Metro/Red Bull great. He’s got the passion, totally excites me!

  5. MiamiAl says:

    Grow the pony-tail back and then we can talk…

  6. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    Typical Tony – just like the Yankees were interested and he was going to be the next Jets kicker. For some reason he thinks the media attention will get him somewhere

  7. euroman says:

    Yeah just what the RB’s need a coach with zero experience. He needs to humble himself and start at the ‘lowest level’ and work his way up. If he were well thought of he would already be working in the game…John Harkes had the same problem, no body really wanted him on their staff.

  8. irishapple21 says:

    Tony is a hometown hero and he’d be welcomed as part of the coaching staff, but I seriously doubt he’s ready for a head coach position, especially at such a high profile club as RBNY.

  9. DCLee says:

    Highly doubt he would be considered for the Red Bulls for a head coaching position. Goalkeeping is another story.

  10. bloofy says:

    Just what we need. A super douche with no head coach experience at the helm. God please go away Tony. Bon Jovi needs a roadie.

  11. Brain Guy says:

    This is a non-story — more about Meola’s wishes than about RBNY’s plans. He might catch on as GK coach, but that’s all.

  12. Harkes' Balls says:

    Petke was brought on as a coach with no experience, and has been (it seems) a good addition to the squad. Wolyniec was also given a gig as a coach with the youth team, which is nice that they are keeping some of the local guys around.

    If Meola has been involved with the USYNT, let him be the academy goalie coach. If he’s the goalie coach of the senior team, it’s probably not the end of the world since he has been around and has tons of playing experience, but, yeah, I’d rather have an actual experienced coach for the senior keepers, since Robles is still getting his feet wet in MLS and Meara is a second year player with half a year’s experience in MLS. Both need quality coaching.

  13. Brit says:

    Give him an assistant position somewhere with a short term contract. Let him get some experience and all the while right the ship when it comes to RBNY’s poor record of promoting their own through the ranks. If nothing comes of it and he turns out to not be a great presence, don’t extend his contract and everything will be move along.

  14. Marden08 says:

    Anybody going to the papers to lobby for a job is likely either delusional or not very bright.

  15. rj says:

    Meola would be the best train wreck ever. I say hire him for amusement so we can watch the biggest disaster in redbull.metro history unfold. Think of the fun.

  16. Pingback: Life goes on: Backe, Halvorsen considered for Head Coaching positions » Empire of Soccer - New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, NY2, MLS, USMNT, and World Soccer

  17. Sean says:

    He should go with Beckham to build the Cosmos.

  18. Pingback: Meola in the mix? Former Red Bull keeper meets Andy Roxburgh » Empire of Soccer – New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, NY2, MLS, USMNT, and World Soccer