By IVES GALARCEP
The New York Red Bulls have yet to make a final decision on a head coach, but they have apparently found the man to give the club a strong American influence on the coaching staff.
Sources have told SBI that the Red Bulls are closing in on hiring former U.S. Men’s National Team captain and former Red Bull midfielder Claudio Reyna to be the team’s new lead assistant coach.
A veteran of European soccer as a captain at clubs such as Glasgow Rangers, Sunderland and Wolfsburg, Reyna carries the international pedigree sought after by Red Bulls bosses Gerard Houllier and Andy Roxburgh while also having the familiarity with the New York/New Jersey area and American soccer the club also want for the coaching staff.
The Red Bulls have yet to make a final decision on a head coach, with early front-runner Gary McAllister looking like less of a sure thing at this point, but the club is expected to have a head coach in place before the MLS Combine, which begins on Jan. 11th. The Red Bulls have interviewed a variety of candidates for both positions, including former Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch and former Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser, but appear ready to hire Reyna to join Mike Petke as Red Bull assistants.
Reyna, 39, has yet to coach on the professional level, but his playing experience, and his work with U.S. Soccer as youth technical director has helped continue to develop him as a coaching candidate. He has worked with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a variety of roles, but has been away from the spotlight since the passing of his 13-year-old son Jack Reyna last July.
A New Jersey native who has continued to live in the New York Area since his retirement as a player, Reyna has very strong ties to the local soccer community and his work on the national level with youth soccer could provide a boost to the Red Bulls academy set-up.
Reyna’s tenure as a player with the Red Bulls was a disappointing one. He spent two seasons with the club as a Designated Player, but injuries kept him from ever capturing his top form. Most American fans will remember him as the U.S. captain who played in three World Cups and played in the English Premier League as well as in Scotland and Germany.
As for the head coaching situation, the Red Bulls continue talks with McAllister, who remains a weakening front-runner, but no final decision has been made. It remains unclear just who the Red Bulls would turn to if they ultimately pass on McAllister. It appears unlikely that the team would hand over head coaching duties to Reyna, who has no head coaching experience (or even experience as a pro assistant at this point).
What do you think of this development? Like the idea of Reyna joining as an assistant coach? Could you see him being New York’s head coach one day? Who would you like to see be the Red Bull head coach?
Share your thoughts below.