Red Bulls to name Sousa head coach, Reyna expected to be lead assistant


The New York Red Bulls are the final team in MLS with a coaching vacancy to fill this off-season, but sources tell SBI they have settled on the top two men in their staff and it is two coaches recently linked to the club.

The Red Bulls will name Paulo Sousa head coach as early as this week, sources confirmed to SBI on Monday. He has already accepted the position, leaving the delay in announcing the hire down to processing the transaction.

Sousa was first linked to the Red Bulls job by Alexi Lalas more than a week ago and he has been chosen to lead the team under the new front office leadership of Andy Roxburgh and Jerome deBontin. Sousa recently stepped down from his coaching job in Hungary.

Sources also tell SBI that Claudio Reyna has been offered the role of being Sousa’s first assistant, and signs point to him taking the job. One source has told SBI that Reyna has stepped down from his position as U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director, a move that clears the way for him to join the Red Bulls.

What do you think of these developments? Like the idea of a Sousa-Reyna tandem to lead the Red Bulls? Think the Red Bulls should have hired an American coach?

Share your thoughts below.

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80 Responses to Red Bulls to name Sousa head coach, Reyna expected to be lead assistant

  1. William the Terror says:

    Is he going to wear stuff like that on the sidelines during games. Maybe he can switch between odd clothing items from game to game. Perhaps an ascot or an opera cape might be entertaining for the New York fans.

  2. Bob L says:

    William he’s a sweatsuit sideline guy like Bradley.

    • William the Terror says:

      Good to know. I would hate to think he spent his game time preening around like a soon-to-be graduate of the Handsome Boy Modeling School.

  3. Andrew says:

    For those curious to learn a bit more about him, he appears as one of a few managers QPR went through on their quest for promotion in the good document “The Four Year Plan” which is available on Netflix streaming in the US.

    I think this is a fine hire, much better than other potential options (including McAllister). This is especially true because of Petke’s continued influence and Reyna’s appointment as assistant manager, as that provides some familiarity with the American soccer landscape and MLS.

  4. Dick Tracy says:

    Dude looks like a vampire.

    Why would Reyna step down from US Soccer to join that mess?

    • only me says:

      money talks s*it walks

    • MLSsnob says:

      I agree, would have liked to see him stay with US soccer. Seems a bit odd that he was so passionate about youth development and takes a gig that is not directly involved.

      • Hildy says:

        His son recently passed away. Might be difficult to continue w/ youth at this point.

        • Bobb says:

          Or he might have more of a desire to stay near home with his family rather than traveling around, because his son passed away. I seriously doubt he doesn’t want to be around all kids now.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      If I understand the TD position he was structuring curricula for training and youth development, not really coaching. Almost academic, and with his son’s illness he might have had reasons for being closer to a consultant than a coach. Now he may want to actually coach, if that’s his aspiration.

  5. malkin says:

    Seems like a good move to me, especially with captain claudio on board. With rafa and hans gone and people like connor lade thriving, dare I say I’m actually excited to see what happens with the red bulls this year.

    • Josh D says:

      I’m more excited to see Reyna on the sideline. Let’s hope he can take his familiarity with MLS and US soccer, his experience with youth, and his leadership to the next level.

  6. Fred Sapper says:

    Seems like he and Reyna were hired more for their ability to connect with the local community (and sell tickets) than for whatever he might be able to accomplish on the field. Bit they could have done far worse with Gary McAllister, who eas previously rumored.

    • Josh D says:

      I’m not sure how you can say Sousa and Reyna were brought on to “sell tickets” unless NY plans on putting them in the starting XI.

      • Andrew says:

        @Josh D- Its easy to be able to see that. Sousa caters to the vast Portuguese population in the area and Reyna is an American born and raised in nearby Livingston, NJ who is also a former Red Bull player. With that said, they obviously aren’t just being hired for hose reasons. Sousa is a very capable, good young coach. He has little experience as a head coach and none in MLS. That’s where Reyna and Petke come in to help hm understand the complex rules here.

        • Josh D says:

          I’ve never heard of someone coming out to just see someone coach. Especially as none of them are seen as “characters” like “The Special One” or Fergie. And while Sousa was a Portugal player, I don’t ever remember him being someone who fans loved. I just don’t see either hiring having anything to do with bringing fans to the game.

          IF we wanted to tie that to Sousa, it would only be in relation to the players he knows and can bring in. Not that he himself is a draw.

          • Francisco V says:

            He was an awesome anchor but in his early years, as a player, he traded Benfica for Sporting in a transfer considered as a betrayal. Then he quickly left Sporting for Juventus when they flashed the €$. That’s why he doesn’t have many fans but in his last year has a Benfica player he even played as goalkeeper when the keeper got a red card and went to the champions league final in that same year.

    • drew11 says:

      What a bizarre statement. Reyna has over 100 caps and played in 3 World Cups. That is hardly a par resume for an MLS assistant.

  7. Pingback: Report: Red Bulls to name Paulo Sousa head coach » Empire of Soccer - New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, NY2, MLS, USMNT, and World Soccer

  8. @Boriuano_10 says:

    sadly I can’t say say I’m excited for this season… RBNY has this thing about letting fans down so I’m pretty sure NY fans are in for another heartbreaker season.

    • Joe says:

      At least they have ambition. Can’t hate on MLS teams that try.

    • CPTKevin says:

      agreed…. too many years listening to the “hype”. I’ll reserve judgement based on the product on the field.

    • T-lover says:

      Stop Trolling, I’m very excited. While I really think the Europa league is a wast of time,that only small leagues get up for. I do think, leading a far less talented Hungarian side,to its best Europa league finish, is something to amaze at. Also for all those MLS fans who hate foreign coaches,you are going to see more of it, get use to it. As this league grows,you need coaches with new ideas, and different styles of play.

  9. Joe says:

    So I guess the Red Bulls pay more than U.S. Soccer? Wasn’t Reyna suppose to be the guy that changed our entire youth system?

    • chris says:

      because Klinnsman realized youth soccer in this country is very complicated and one man or mandates from US Soccer will never change that

      • Bobb says:

        Or maybe Reyna already completed the major job of putting together a technical program (before Klinsmann was even hired), and wants to stay near home/family given the death of his son, and Reyna moving on has NOTHING to do with Klinsmann or what he thinks about youth soccer? Yes believe it or not but it’s true that one or two things actually have nothing to do with Klinsmann.

      • Steve_NYRB says:

        Youth soccer is a travesty in this country. We suck at an international level because the coaching is so poor at almost all levels. We have the talent and the raw players, but the youth soccer is a racket to make money. It’s not about creating world class players. Reyna was probably tired of dealing with the clueless coaches and clubs who have their little mega clubs in the suburbs getting kids into college playing for more clueless coaches. Souza has an advantage over almost everyone who played or coached in this country… He’s not from here.

  10. Brain Guy says:

    I’m underwhelmed but open-minded. His record is mixed, but his only real “failure” was at Leicester City, in an abbreviated tenure. I am glad that Reyna will be at his side. His playing career gives him some credibility as well.

    • Andrew says:

      He’s actually been quite successful in all his other stops. At QPR he kept them just barely behind the pormotion playoffs after taking over midseason. At Swansea City he led them to their best finish in 27 years by placing 7th in the League Championship in just his first season. And obviously at Videoton he finished 2nd with them last season and earned a best ever finish in Europa League for the club with them. He has a history of being successful in short periods of time.

  11. MetrofanNo1 says:

    Hopefully Reyna succeeds at the little things. Souza can handle the bigger issues like letting Henry whose boss.

  12. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Hmm…if Sousa could get an OK top Portuguese Postiga or Simao, then it workout.

  13. Sean says:

    From a purely professional, decision-making standpoint, this move looks quite bad for the organization.

    But, when the league kicks off, we will lend our voices in competition for the club.

    • T-lover says:

      How does this move look bad? because he’s a European coach? come on people.

      • Sean says:

        Because you’re talking about a club whose fans and organization has admitted that consistency is a big problem and you bring in a coach who is entering his sixth coaching job in six years, has been fired at half of his club teams coached, and broke his other two 3-year contracts before completing even two years of them – one after just one year, the other after 18 months.

        • T-lover says:

          The coach lead Swansea city to its best start in 30 years. Each of his past two stops he has face disorganize management,and lack of talent. NYRB has fix their front office problems, the organization is a lot more stable then in recent years. He again lead a not so talented Hungarian to their best finish. The reason people hate this move, is because their hate for European coaches.

          • Sean says:

            Not only is your assessment very one-sided, you completely ignore real evidence. But, if that’s what you want to do, no one can stop you from trolling.

          • AMPhibian says:

            i think you are over-emphasizing the hate. there hasn’t been a comment on here hating him for being european. why is this idea so important to you?

            • T-lover says:

              Yes, I said hate. Hate, for the simple fact the guy is European, and you haven’t seen a lot of Europeans successful in MLS. Yet, many of these same people completely ignore, plenty of American coaches with the same problem. Yet the sample size of European coaches success/failure rate is low, compared to that of American coaches success/failure rate in MLS.

  14. Addage says:

    I don’t have a clue whether Sousa and Reyna will be good coaches for RBNY, and I suspect most of the commenters don’t either. So clearly there’s some risk. On the other hand, both have played world class football on the international scene. RBNY has always talked about playing “the beautiful game”. These two at least have lived it.

    I like the appeal to the Iron Bound district. Smart to hire quality soccer minds and sell some tickets besides.

    Claudio should have great connections to the youth soccer world. Can only help RBNY academy. That is the future.

    And you have to respect the pedigree of both. Reyna is arguable the best field player the US has ever produced. He (and O’Brien) were the principal reasons for the US having a successful World Cup run.

    Seems to me that we should be optimistic while reserving judgement.

    • Steve_NYRB says:

      Yes! Exactly.

      I’m so tired of the “need to know MLS” mentality. Most of the coaches in MLS wouldn’t last a month overseas. The pressures and organization of clubs in Europe are at another level. The coaches and managers here are like a private country club. Doesn’t matter what you’ve produced, (the finals of the MLS Cup is not impressive)… just who you know. Even if they get fired… it’s like the NFL they just get moved around.

      I welcome any coaches with top level european/south american experience. Our best young coaches should be going overseas and begging to get experience in the Nederlands, Germany or Portugal.

      • Charles Fix says:

        Nice post, you are not over glamour-izing it and your stats are spot on.
        Well, they would have been if you provided even one example.

        Plus, once you lose your job as manager in England, forget it, you will never get hired there again.

      • Charles Fix says:

        Wait eh minute…..he coached for Swansea City FC AND Leicester ?

        How did that happen ? Don’t leave me hanging Steve……

        • Steve_NYRB says:

          Screw the stats. How many clubs are knocking on the MLS door for coaches? If Bruce Arena is so great, why is he still here?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Except he’s the AC. How much do the ACs coach the academy teams? I think people over-state the cross-over from first team to academy, which is half the reason I think the homegrown is pointless. There’s not often much of a bridge and I doubt the first team see much of the youth unless it’s a scrimmage or decisionmaking time on a player.

      If they wanted Reyna to coach the academy that’s where they needed to hire him. If he’s AC that’s to coach the senior side. Hard enough getting one team ready for games.

  15. Jason B says:

    They hired Sousa because he can speak Portuguese in an effort to lure Kaka. Duh!


  16. Luis C says:

    Hey Ives if you were a real coach would you take this job at this moment? Why?

    • Josh D says:

      If you’re an American coach, without a job or even a college coach, you’re absolutely taking the job. You have a team that buys top quality players and you play in one of the best stadiums in the US. Plus there aren’t many professional coaching jobs in the US.

      Arena proved that front offices can be fickle, but when you’re the right coach, they back off. I think NY are still looking for their Arena, and once they find him, the club will stabilize. Unfortunately, NY had Arena..

    • Bobb says:

      Highest payroll in MLS.

  17. Scott says:

    Hope this works out well for Sousa. Myself being a huge Leicester fan, i can tell you how the players played under him: awful.
    Players often looked exhausted and tired after an hour of play. Our attacking was woeful and defending was even worse. Best example of this was against recently relegated Portsmouth away live in front of the Sky tv cameras. We got dismantled, destroyed and left dismayed after an embarrassing 6-1 defeat. Our goal came after Pompey got bored after making us look like a Sunday league team for 85 minutes. I remember i went out that night and got smashed just like my team! (That’s a whole other story).
    Keep in mind, this was meant to be the season we achieved promotion under new ownership with vast riches. We were not meant to be getting smashed every week until October.
    He eventually lost the dressing room after a player had allegedly smacked him on.
    We were glad to see him leave and be replaced by Sven.

    If one positive came from Sousa, it was the passing game foundation he laid down. At times, we passed the ball like Barcelona but we just couldn’t get into the final third or defend our patch for that matter.
    That passing game is still seen today as we are starting to climb the Championship with a very young talented squad (3rd place, 2 pts off automatics) under Pearson.

    As a Red Bulls fan, i honestly hope Paulo does well for the club and we succeed under him. It’ll be a huge challenge for him. The team is already capable of winning silverware. But will we see it happen?

    • AMPhibian says:

      great post.

    • Paul says:

      I remember reading somewhere that Sousa, at one of his clubs, actually banned his players from doing exercises to build their cardiovascular fitness levels. I will try and point people to the article if I can find it again.

      So anyway, I think this will be a disaster for the Red Bulls.

      • Paul says:

        Nevermind about posting the link. Shane has it covered below. It sounds like Sousa may be a con artist as much as a coach.

  18. Michael F. says:

    Why do I get the strange feeling Sousa will be gone within a year and Reyna will be the head coach immediately after? Not that that’s a good or bad thing…I have no idea.

  19. Shane says:

    Simply awful! Please No!

    I speak with some experience. I am a Brit new to the US, new to supporting the Red Bulls. Just bought a season ticket.

    My first love, is the team from my hometown, Swansea City FC. Paulo was our coach for awhile and he took us backwards, we were lucky to get rid of him to the ‘mighty’ Leicester when we did.

    He had a fine playing career and we were all wooed by that but the players hated him and the style of play was depressing!!

    • TomG says:

      Backwards? How is Swanseas best league finish in 27 years backwards?

      • Shane says:

        Good point Tim but that has been eclipsed some since then.

        Also it was 40 goals in 46 games less than one a game, it was the worst record of all 92 clubs in the League

        Ask anyone in Swansea about Sousa and they will groan. The football was awful and he pissed off some of our better players who left for pastures new. One was Leon Britton our midfield dynamo who thankfully is back with us.

        I will leave with you comments from two players, one who is still with us in the Prem.

        Swansea legend Lee Trundle also revealed in his autobiography the stubbornness of Sousa and his reluctance to make changes when things were not going Swansea’s way, just like they were not in the closing months of the season:

        “He’d (Sousa) done brilliantly to begin with, but when things started to slide, he didn’t change anything. We’d be to reluctant to go for it in games and it cost us…..At Sheffield United, Chris Morgan, their centre back asked me if we were going to start putting them under pressure, seeing as it was a win or bust game for us. We didn’t. In my opinion, Paulo could come across as stubborn and appear difficult to deal with because of that.”

        Club captain, Garry Monk has recently revealed that Sousa’s ignorance towards fitness training was very true, with Monk pointing the finger at Sousa for Swansea’s massive meltdown at the close of the 2008/2009 season. Monk reflected on Sousa’s time at the club:

        “It was frustrating in terms of training going from working intensely hard (under Martinez) every single day to practically not even getting a sweat on. “Every manager is different, everyone’s philosophy is different. Paulo was a lot more laid back than other managers and you take each one as they come. As a group of players that I know and have trained with, every single day I know that’s not what was best for us. Everyone agreed that we need to be pushed and pushed. In training we need to be going over the edge sometimes to get your fitness where you need it in the last five minutes, where we are being pushed to the limit in the game. That’s kind of where we let ourselves down but it was difficult as well because we weren’t allowed to do extra training.”

  20. TomG says:

    Very risky decision here. Sousa has had mixed results as a manager and MLS has chewed up many European managers who couldn’t adapt. On the other hand, he’s experienced some success in the past and his commitment to a fluid possession style could yield a beautiful result if he’s up to the challenge. High risk, high reward move.

  21. Soccer Guy says:

    What is with the Red Bulls and coaches? Why didn’t they just give Arena a chance? They probably could have avoided this whole mess if they had done so.

    This guy is perfect for the Red Bulls. (Sarcasm) What a stellar career this guy has had. He signs three or four year contracts with teams and then they tell him to take a hike. I really don’t understand what it is the Red Bulls think he has to offer, other than being stylish. I would expect Reyna to become coach pretty soon if he joins as an assistant to Fabio, I mean Paulo.

    • Kevin says:

      “Give Arena a chance”? That presupposes that he would leave the two-time defending champs that he built to go back to a team that has historically been a management mess.

      Why would he even consider it?

      • Brain Guy says:

        I think Soccer Guy meant that they should have given him a chance when he was the coach of the team.

  22. juan from la says:

    Nothing special i still dont understnad the hype for reyna his numbers have been horrible as head of ytd w multiple teams failing to meet expectations

    • Steve_NYRB says:

      Blame the youth club system. Once kids leave camp USSoccer has no control of what happens when they go back to their clubs.

  23. TORONTO says:

    At least they have a coach on the continent.

  24. gringostar says:

    Like all great athletes, Claudio could see the future moves before they happened. If his long term career goal is to be a head coach, this is an excellent starting point for him.

  25. Nando says:

    A poor man’s Mourinho…nothing wrong with this ambitious move.

    He gets to hand-pick a DP also.

  26. Jimbo says:

    The only way Sousa or Reyna can make a difference is if they can find and train a competent back line. Lade may be good but he is too small to make a good defender. RBNY has the attacking talent but they can’t attack when they have to come back and bail out the defense. Dax McCarty as holding midfielder can help a lot but even he can’t make up for the poor back line play. Just review a few of Henri’s quotes about the defense from last year. With the salary caps and other restrictions put upon MLS by the owners, actually getting the players you need will be difficult. Reyna would be an improvement IF he can spot some young talent and bring them along. Please don’t repeat what Backe did to Altidore. RBNY has great scoring potential, they just have to be able to stay in the opponents third and not worry about that cheap goal coming in behind them.

  27. pancholama says:

    I don’t know much about him.
    Intuitively he strikes me as perhaps bringing the best qualities of coaching, style and individualism that we find in Mancini, Mourinho and Guardiola.
    I wish him great success, and hope that he and Claudio get along well and forge an effective and successsful partnership.

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