Red Bulls replace Soler as GM, former AS Monaco president named new boss


The Erik Soler era is over for the New York Red Bulls, and the new regime at the club has a distinct French flavor.

The Red Bulls have announced the appointment of former AS Monaco club president Jerome De Bontin (pictured) as the team's new general manager. Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, who was appointed head of global soccer for Red Bull in July, will oversee all sporting aspects of the team.

The move ends Soler's almost three-year reign in charge of the Red Bulls. During his tenure, the Red Bulls reached the playoffs both seasons, but lost in the first round on each occasion.

The change at the top comes two months after the club also replaced former president of business operations Chris Heck, though multiple sources tell SBI that Soler was directly responsible for the decision to dismiss Heck.

So why make a move like this just as the team is heading into the stretch run of the regular season? Soler's job of building the team is done, and clearly Red Bull wanted to go in a new direction. Houllier is the new head of Red Bulls international soccer operations and he decided to appoint his own guy to run the company's signature soccer team.

What do you think of the change? Surrpised to see it come at this point in the season? Think Thierry Henry had something to do with the shake-up?

Share your thoughts below.

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53 Responses to Red Bulls replace Soler as GM, former AS Monaco president named new boss

  1. David St. Hubbins says:

    herp derp!

    forever metro!

  2. bkyn says:

    Seemed like Soler was starting to get how MLS works this year. His recent trades actually made sense. Now, the process of getting a European up to speed starts all over again.

  3. GW says:

    Isn’t Houllier anti-american?

  4. jya says:

    Is this really the signature soccer team. Seems like the Austrian club has had more sucess

    (SBI-Salzburg is the better team, but which team do you think is more well known globally? Red Bull New York is the club that draws the most attention and publicity. Can’t imagine many folks outside Austria, or die-hard soccer fans, have heard of Red Bull Salzburg.)

  5. joe says:

    baffled stunned this team is by far and there is a lot knicks, jets, mets, the most mixed disorganized franchise in new york ive been a fan since i was 11 and i still can’t understand this team whether its metro or red bull for the life of me i just don’t get it just when things were looking great for soler he’s gone done boom baffled just baffled

  6. Aguinaga says:

    Timing = horrible. Read the guy was brought into Monaco to wield the heavy cost cutting sword. Either we must really be bleeding $$$, RB corporate has no clue or empathy for what the timing of this could mean to the team, or both in order to do this now. Hate that my team just can’t stay away from its own drama…

  7. Rabid RBNY says:

    It seems RB is getting less and less patient with the empty seats at RBA maybe Soler over stepped hi bounds by firing Heck before the season ended?

  8. theraccoun says:

    dat sentence

  9. El paso, tx- soccer love says:

    If the red bull don’t win mls cup then their coach is out for sure and it will be a new era in red bull. Bad thing marquez might know him or have a connection since monaco was his first european team and actually became the real deal there. In other news whatso going on with the cosmos nasl coach and so
    Staff. Hopefully red bull can become the real deal,like galaxy and other teams with money or no money can follow their example such teams like seattle, chicago, salt lake, rapids, dc, philly and the list goes on . I have question wwhich team dc or new england will their stadium first.

  10. The Wise One says:

    Chris Heck deserved to be fired. His ticket sales policies were patently ludicrous. They are directly responsible for why I do not have a ticket package this year. Now, if we can just get rid of Hans….

  11. Mark says:

    Is this the same guy who wanted Freddy Adu but the coach didn’t want him, so never played him? I remember he had some American connections, which would fit the description of this guy.

    Anyway,I’ll keep an open mind, but Soler had done a very nice job with this team. He made some very good moves and minimized the flops, so between he and Houllier, they better continue to move the team forward towards a Cup.

  12. Shane says:

    When it comes to soccer it certainly seems so. When is New York going to realize that eurosnobs fail in MLS. Backe needs to go also.

  13. Gnarls says:

    Is he Al Qaeda? Or has he made comments disparaging the US game?

  14. Jake says:

    When the reason is given for his dismissal, is this conjecture or based on investigative reporting? It’s unclear to me.

  15. timothy says:

    People have accused him of signing Americans only to bench him

  16. Will says:

    Backe wasn’t coming back next year anyways.

    Ownership likely wants a marketable coach to come in and Soler doesn’t have the connections or personality to help that process. Also, Henry and Backe don’t agree on personnel and training platforms. They truly needed to get rid of both Soler/Backe to position the team for long-term sustainable profits/play.

  17. Tim F. says:

    This one REALLY surprises me. I thought Erik Soler did a fantastic job; with the salary cap, what do they expect Soler to have done?

    Most impressively, the vast majority of players that Soler brought on have great character … players like Lindpere, Cahill, Cooper, LeToux, etc.

    How does Hans Backe outlast Erik Soler? I have no clue.

  18. T-moble says:

    Knicks will be good this year, as far as NYRB we will have to wait and see what happens with the new hire.

  19. Rabid RBNY says:

    I’m wondering now if that City of Harrison lawsuit was what did it. I guess Soler was overseeing that and last heard RB lost in the upper-mid eight figures…

  20. JoeW says:

    With Soler gone, I think this guarantees that Backe doesn’t return. Frankly, I think the timing is terrible. B/c right now Hans Backe has to be working on copies of his resume rather than focusing on the drive to the playoffs. I get that Houllier wants “his” man. Well, Backe probably wants to play for a GM who he knows well, trust and is comfortable with. Otherwise he’ll move on.

    Now, some NYRB fans may WANT Hans Backe to move on. But part of the problem with this franchise has been the revolving door.

  21. Czech says:

    Wow, at let him finish the season…

  22. Tim F. says:

    Welcome Jerome. We wish you the best!

  23. Darwin says:

    …because AS Monaco is doing fantastic at the moment.

  24. joe says:

    dont rule this out but this is henry’s team so whateever he says they may do just saying…

  25. ld says:

    I highly doubt very many people outside North America have ever heard of Red Bull New York soccer team

  26. SD says:

    yup, same guy

  27. who said says:

    Is this ship starting to take on even more water? I agree with the posts that said Soler seemed to be grasping how MLS worked this year by making some good trades. Now another person comes fresh to MLS and will need to get acclimated all over again. MLS rules and regs are quite different than most leagues in the world, it takes time for managers to understand this league.

  28. TomG says:

    So, basically you are saying that no one outside of North America has heard of Thierry Henry.

  29. TomG says:

    Agree that the timing sucks. Agree that the revolving door has been a problem. Agee that the MLS learning curve might be a problem for the new guys, but at least these guys have football backgrounds and have experience running teams at a very high level which are qualities Soler never possessed.

  30. Aidan says:

    Interesting, I just read that he sits on the board of trustees of the USSF.

  31. Juan from L.A. says:

    Uhmm he signs players its up to the coach to play the players or not. At least he is looking at players. Plus the players he signed no other GM in Europe or would have signed the. Overrated like Freddy Adu.

  32. Juan from L.A. says:

    Good riddance to Soler. Horrible and snobbish piece of human being. Backe is horrible too and maybe now someone is there to put the latter old hag in his place. Good luck NYRB.

  33. Juan from L.A. says:

    Finally for Ives comment of ‘Soler’s job of building the team is done, and clearly Red Bull wanted to go in a new direction.’…well he did a ‘great’ job building the academy and bringing up HG players in the first team :roll eyes:

  34. Old School says:

    …or Tim Cahill.

    I think what “Id” is saying is, “I’m a Euro-snob. Hi guys.”

  35. Old School says:

    …but he’s from Europe. So, OBVIOUSLY he’s good at what he does, or something.

  36. Andy says:

    Is he the one that ran Monaco into the ground?

  37. Pierre says:

    How much better is Salzberg?

  38. Al says:

    Freddy Adu to Red Bull next season…book it

  39. Sabella says:

    If you had asked me three months ago, I would have said Soler had to go. However, I actually think the Red Bulls have a squad that is capable of winning a championship and the guy obviously had a lot to do with that. My issue is with Backe and his inability to play the right people and to play them in their right positions.

    If RB wanted to terminate Soler, it should be after the season and it should be a package termination including Backe.

  40. Cesar says:

    Very Wrong om this one i gone all over and people always ask me im a RB fan

  41. dan says:

    RB is a great business case study on cross-cultural leadership perceptions/styles of management…. unfortunate that RB fans have to continue enduring such drastic changes every 2-3 years. Once again, NYC fans get the short end of the deal.

    Maybe RB ought to look at the Sounders “vote for the GM” approach. At least fans would have a say in these decisions!

  42. Ridiculous Great says:

    I don’t think there’s any current way to tell who is better. The last time the RB played the reserve Salzburg team (circa Angel’s tenure), the Austrians were extremely aggressive towards the NY team…almost causing fights and injuries from what I recall.

  43. VMan says:

    Next head coach: Pep Guardiola … I’m kidding, of course.

  44. Brain Guy says:

    REd Bull may have good reasons for doing this, and doing it now, but the Austrian HQ’s disconnect from the American soccer scene, and the American soccer fan, continues to stun and disappoint me. Don’t get me wrong — I think guys with European roots and European experience can do a fine job here. But the constant replacement of new guys with no connection to, and no experience in, the quirky ways of MLS with a new set of guys with no connection to, and no experience in, the quirky ways of MLS is getting tiresome. Does Salzburg really care what happens here?

  45. RK says:

    Financial troubles, then relegated after 2010-11. Sold 2/3s of the team. So yes…

  46. ed - houston says:

    LOL good luck!!

  47. irantandirave says:

    French led implosion starting in 5, 4, 3…

  48. AtleticoUnionCity says:

    What? How did u come about this determination Juan? Or u making stuff up?

  49. jya says:

    They have played in the biggest stage of club football at the moment the champions league and have been at the top of their league several times.

  50. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    If/when Backe doesn’t win the MLS Cup this season he is gone.

  51. Ski Fast! says:

    If that door continues to revolve, as a Union fan, I’d actually take Backe over what we have now…

  52. Matt says:

    It’s got to be the empty seats. Seattle Sounders expect 66,000 fans on hand at their Cascadia game this weekend. Why can NYRB barely manage 20,000 fans on a Saturday night?

  53. Becks says:

    I’ve sat in many a meeting w Soler, even Beirsdorfer. RBNY is a revolving door. From the salespeople to the players right down to the management. Everyone is afraid for their job there. They are all looking, or should be, because Austria doesn’t give a rats @ss about anyone there. They would staff the entire org with H1 visas if they could.