RBNY closing in on Reyna for assistant coach role


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.

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50 Responses to RBNY closing in on Reyna for assistant coach role

  1. Footballer says:

    Probably grooming him for the manager position down the line. Great move.

  2. biased rbny supporter says:

    his work on the national level with youth soccer could provide a boost to the Red Bulls academy set-up.

    Yup, that about sums it up for me. I like it. Seems like they are serious about the investment in youth and the academy.

  3. TheFrenchOne says:

    i find the hiring of assistant coaches before a head coach to be ass-backwards, but I can’t imagine Reyna being a bad choice, based on his playing chops.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’d echo your thoughts about hiring assistants before heads — I mean, did they even get input, will they get along — with the added comments that I am not sure someone who spent all but the last two years of his career abroad is the ideal bridge to the American soccer player and MLS. Reyna doesn’t have much high level coaching experience, and Petke has less of a CV but is a career MLSer who would better understand both the personnel/cap rules and the way we play ball here.

    • Eurosnob says:

      I agree. It reminded me of how Dan Snyder ran the Redskins before the fans revolted and falling attendance forced him to give up the reigns to Shannahan and Allen. He also hired assistant coaches before the head coach. By the way, no disrespect to Reyna is intended.

    • TomG says:

      Agreed, but since nothing is official with Claudio, and NYRB is presumably in negotiations with managers, everyone should be on the same page…. should be…. maybe.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        But some of this comes back to, did the HC candidates want domestic ACs? If they did, then best case, NYRB maybe ran a name or names by the HC finalists and got approval. But worst case, the HC wanted to set up his own staff and NYRB short circuits it by hiring domestic ACs with whom they may not get along or even agree on tactics, no input.

        I still think the HC should be picking the ACs to suit his needs. At some point the whole Team of Rivals thing in Toronto reached the height of absurdity. Having ACs for “grooming” purposes, not of the HC’s choice? If you trust the HC that little, why hire him? You should be hiring a HC you want, with his team, and if you are concerned about domestic knowledge, maybe you politiely ask he hire a local AC, at least one. If the AC is being groomed for a job, it should be that the HC is so good he will train the AC up, who will coach somewhere else….

        • TomG says:

          New regime, so personally, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong. I guess we’ll see.

  4. euroman says:

    Every good manager will demand picking his own staff…this move tells me a puppet manager will be hired.

  5. Um, yeah says:

    Shouldn’t the head coach hire the assistant coaches?

    I think Reyna is a natural choice but it seems odd to force him on the gaffer.

    If he’s willing to come work for the organization, which it appears he is, why not give him he head coach job? The minimal to no experience didn’t keep Jason Kreis, Peter Nowak, Ben Olsen, Jesse Marsch and Jay Heaps from getting MLS HC jobs and Reyna’s playing career likely makes him at least as qualified as they were.

  6. dikranovich says:

    houllier, mcallister, where is phil thompson when you need him? this could be a job for steve nicol. red bull will probably just go with reyna as head coach, what the heck.

  7. Sec 129 says:

    What does this hiring mean for Petke?

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Wouldn’t imagine it means anything.

      • Andrew says:

        It doesn’t mean anything for Petke. When the Red Bulls essentially dumped Backe, Jan Halvor Halvorsson was also letgo as an assistant, therefore opening up a spot for Reyna to come in.

  8. patrick says:

    honestly almost forgot that Reyna even played for the red bulls. It would be a great move for both parties if it happens. Red Bulls finally gets an experienced american coach, and Reyna gets to move up the coaching ladder.

    • Don Dallas says:

      Great guy and great player. Didn’t he also Captain Man City for a while?

      But I will always remember this:
      “Reyna, a midfielder of so much class and quality, had a horribly bad moment. He turned an ankle while being stripped of possession near U.S. goal. Ghana took a lead and the Americans saw their best player limp away from international soccer.”

      Went right into RBNY and never was able to produce.

      • malkin says:

        Ya, will always remember that moment, but will also never forget his performance dominating Germany in 2002 and wearing that flag draped around the shoulders after the game. How did we lose that one, again? [oh, right, handball on the line :)]

      • TomG says:

        He captained Wolfsburg I think, but I don’t remember him captaining City.

  9. Colin in MT says:

    As a neutral it seems to me that RBNY are making some smart moves. Their early acquisitions and dismissals, plus keeping Petke and this move for Reyna I think bode well. RBNY could finally be strategically building. A strong NY team only helps the rest of the league

  10. Eugene says:

    It’s about equivalent to me as when John Harkes was an assistant coach in NY some years ago. May come to something, may come to nothing. Hard to tell at this point. I would like Steve Nicol to be the head coach!

  11. Shane says:

    I have to agree with the ass-backwardness of this. Plus just check out the stuff Grant Wahl is tweeting about NYRB. I tend to trust Wahl’s opinions and even though he gives no sources, perhaps they’re first hand anyway, he doesnt have a history of blowing smoke.

    • Brain Guy says:

      What’s Wahl saying?

      • Chance says:

        from what I saw he’s saying NYRB look like the Galaxy from 07 and 08. So he’s expecting them to washout and not make the play offs.

        • Brain Guy says:

          He’s entitled to his opinion, I guess, but Shane’s post suggests that there were some (not widely reported?) facts to back it up. Maybe Wahl is working on a new book — “The Henry Experiment.” ; )

        • ed - houston says:

          LOL sounds good to me

  12. yikes says:

    What about McBride? I imagine both him and Reyna could get coaching jobs in MLS or perhaps asst manager jobs at clubs in England. Maybe League 1 but its a start

    • Josh D says:

      I thought McBride was happy doing announcing? But I’d love to see him earning his badges and working his way up. Like Olsen, he’s a born leader on the pitch which should help in the locker room.

      McBride also has the connections in England to start in the lower leagues as an assistant.

  13. Sebastian says:

    While I would applaud the hiring of Reyna as an assistant coach, I have a real problem with Gary McAllister. He proved his anti American stance at Villa by never giving Brad Guzan a shot at the first team and worse yet he is a poor judge of talent. He declined to see the huge upside that Michael Bradley presented while on loan at Villa by refusing him much playing time.

  14. chris says:

    I like this hire. Now if they would just sign Richie Williams as the head coach and change thier name back to the Metrostars i might actually root for this team

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  16. Leo says:

    Sad to see him leave the US National coaching post, I thought he had the chance to really set a new tone for the youth academies and culture of youth soccer here. To leave that post in order to take an assistant job where no manager is in place seems odd, kind of guessing there are things in place that are not announced. Hope he does well, can see him leading the USMNT someday down the line

    • Vic says:

      He could want to be closer to his family after his son’s passing. National team technical director probably requires alot of traveling. Wonder who will replace Reyna for the Nats? I could see John O’Brien being a good fit. Since the role is to encourgage youth to play a more skilled game, O’Brien may have the tools. He was one of the most skilled Americans and seemed to have a good head on his shoulders.

      • josh says:

        They would have to find JOB first. Maybe they could stage a beach soccer tourney, and throw a bag over his head when he shows up.

    • chris says:

      What did you expect to happen? Its impossible for one man to dramatically improve youth developement. He already put forth a suggested curriculum on a 4-3-3 system before Klinnsman was hired but you cant force a country this size to all play the same way. And besides whats the point of having players that can only play one system or having players growing up only facing one system? IMO US Soccer should be grooming players that are versatile. Players that can attack and defend, players with technique that can also deal with/use their physicality, players that can posses the ball while also being able to hit an accurate long ball. I’ll take a well rounded player over a superior technical player anyday. US soccer should and is preaching hours on the ball at an early age for young players but it takes time to build worldclass something no man can change

      • Leo says:

        I was not expecting any dort of “nationalized” style of play but I was hopeful that the message could continue to come from the same source(Reyna/Klinnsman) for a longer period of time. When there is too much turnover there tends to be reboots and I was just hopeful for a longer stretch of Renya in charge. I totally understand his family situation and how that can change your outlook on thing though. Training players to be more attack minded and more skillful should be every directors first mission, everything else should come far down the list.

  17. MikeG says:

    Really nice to see the ex USMNT player’s getting into coaching. I hope to see it continue.

  18. TomG says:

    Plusses: He played a cerebral game and a cerebral position; He’s been a Nat captain as well as a club captain; He has European and MLS experience as well as some youth experience; As a player, he demonstrated a very high level of tactical awareness, both offensively and defensively; has played under many different managers and in many different systems.

    Minuses/Question marks: No real coaching experience; Never really played for a great manager as a club player. Kevin Keegan is probably the most heralded name he played under, but even he, despite rising to be England manager, is more of a personality than a great manager to learn the ropes from; Claudio also always struck me as a pretty soft spoken guy, not the type you typically see as a great manager, though he shouldn’t have any problem as an assistant.

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  20. Wasabi Papichulo Oso says:

    Terrible. All ass backwards. This is no way of building a winning team. You first hire the main guy, who in turn makes the proper decisions and builds around him. Not the other way around.

    Show me one winning team that has done this, in sports or corporate America.

    Reyna was a fine player (not for NY), but the lack of experience given the talent pool in the roster is plain negligent.

    Sad day to be a RBNY fan. Feeling much better about 2nd NY team coming on board MLS soon.

    Egos, egos… always in the way.

    • TomG says:

      Take a deep breath. It’s a new regime. Let’s see them kick a ball on the field a couple times. They haven’t even HIRED Claudio – they’re just closing in on him and we’re all acting like they strangled some puppies or something. For all we know, the prospective new manager said, “Hey, I like Claudio Reyna, any chance of getting him on board as an assistant?” Okay, that’s unlikely, but they very well could be doing this in concert with the new manager. Let’s give them a chance. They got rid of Marquez, didn’t they?

  21. JoeW says:

    I think this is a terrible move. I think the world of Reyna and believe he’s got a very good future with USSF in some capacity (NT coach eventually)? But here’s the deal:
    1. The head coach should have some say as to who his assistants are. You need to work well with your assistants, you need to trust them, you need to feel like they won’t stab you in the back or be out for your job if things start badly. The head coach hasn’t even been hired. But he’s going to come on board and be told “we’ve already hired or assistants for you.” Not a good situation.

    2. Assuming that NYRB hires someone not from North America, you’d want an assistant who knows MLS intimately. Reyna has a good feel for the USSF and some of the American talent. But he’s not a great fit in terms of knowing MLS (as in: knowing how Dom Kinnear likes to sub in games, how Ben Olsen goads referees, how Clavijo sets up restarts and corners, or the arcane personnel rules, or what the word of mouth is on particular players who might become available via trade or waiver). In a certain sense, hiring Reyna would be like hiring Earnie Stewart…both are Americans, both highly regarded, both played a little in MLS but neither is going to be a real resource on MLS.

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