Report: Sousa rejects Red Bulls head coaching job


In what is becoming a recurring theme with the New York Red Bulls, just when they look like they have their guy, something goes wrong and the team is left scrambling.

Just a week after sources told SBI that the Red Bulls and Paulo Sousa had reached an agreement to make Sousa the team’s new head coach, a fresh report out of Portugal states that Sousa has decided to pass on the job after initially leaving his head coaching job with Hungarian side Videoton expressly to take the New York job.

One source with knowledge of the coaching search said that Sousa’s hiring will not happen know, though it remains unclear just what went wrong in the days since Sousa initially agreed to take the position.

It remains unclear just what has happened with the process to hire a head coach, but this latest development comes on the heals of Claudio Reyna turning down the Red Bulls’ offer of being the team’s lead assistant coach. It is believed the team wanted to have both head coach and assistant coach in place before making an announcement, but Reyna’s delay in making a decision, coupled with his ultimate decision to pass on the assistant coaching role, appears to have soured Sousa on joining the Red Bulls as well.

Now the Red Bulls are in training camp without a head coach or lead assistant, with Mike Petke serving as the interim coach while New York sorts out the situation (marking the first time in MLS history a team has gone into training camp without a head coach hired). Sources tell SBI that the team has been interviewing candidates for the assistant coaching opening, but now the team is once again on the search for a head coach.

The Red Bulls had appeared to be leaning toward hiring a foreign head coach, with an American assistant coach, but after passing on Gary McAllister and now having seemingly been snubbed by Sousa, the Red Bulls may have no choice but to dip into a deep pool of experienced former MLS coaches currently available. A pool that includes Jesse Marsch, Robin Fraser, Preki and Denis Hamlett to name a few.

The Red Bulls could now be forced to consider making Petke the team’s permanent head coach. Though he has no previous head coaching experience, Petke has the standing within the organization, and the respect of the fan base, to be well received as a coaching hire. If Sousa has, in fact, walked away from the Red Bulls, the team may have no choice but to hand the team over to Petke.

The drawn-out coaching search has soured what has actually been a good off-season for the Red Bulls in terms of rebuilding the squad. The departure of Rafa Marquez and acquisitions of Juninho Pernambucano, Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola to name a few has the Red Bulls looking poised to be a stronger team in 2013. The only problem is they do not have a coach yet and the season is due to kick off in less than six week with the Red Bulls traveling to Portland on March 3rd.

What do you think of this situation? Who do you think the Red Bulls should hire? Have you ever heard of a team heading into pre-season camp without a coach in place? Think Petke could be a good head coach?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls. Bookmark the permalink.

97 Responses to Report: Sousa rejects Red Bulls head coaching job

  1. elgringorico says:


  2. MemRook says:

    LOL @ Redbulls (organization)

    :'( @ Redbulls (fans)….they don’t deserve such terrible management.

    • ed - houston says:


    • Dennis says:

      Actually, since the Red Bull play and train in NJ, it is hard for a NJ resident to feel too bad for an organization that can’t even be honest about where it lives! At least the stadium was not built with public funds.

  3. Rusty Schakelford says:

    Rofl hahahahahah

  4. Love'in it says:


  5. Georgie says:

    Aye yayaye. Just give it to Petke at this point…

  6. Ben says:

    Answer is simple…do what they should have done years ago and bring back Richie!

  7. ed - houston says:

    surprise surprise , eurodeuchy

  8. Chris says:

    Same old Metro. Petke should have gotten the job the day after Backe was let go. As noted, there are plenty of good candidates available who already have MLS experience. This “need” for all things foreign is killing the club.

  9. Gnarls says:

    Sad clusterf*@% of a situation. Red Bull fans deserve better.

  10. Al17 says:

    Normally, I’d tease the RedBull supporters but I have one word
    Now hire Reyna

  11. irantandirave says:

    Steve Nicol please.

    • GKS Boston says:

      Not only is Steve available and has the Euro pedigree that NYRB seems to be looking for, but so is Paul Mariner. When the two were together in NE, they had terrific success. Why not try to reunite the dynamic duo?

  12. MMV says:

    Just give Petke the F’ing job already. He’s the only one that’s show any loyalty, devotion, and repsect to the club. That’s amazing in and of itself — nowthat I think about that. If I were him I would have jumoed ship, too. Words can’t describe how amatuerish they look. Do they even care??? If I were a RB fan or player I would be so pissed.

  13. Bobb says:

    Bunch of useless comments so far… let me add some substance to the discussion:


  14. XPK says:

    Somedays you’re glad the MLS doesn’t get as much mainstream media attention. The NYRB coaching situation, if it were happening in another American sport (MLB, NFL, NBA), would be getting all sorts of critical air time from pundits and talking heads.

  15. Javier says:

    I’ll admit I’m not a Red Bulls fan, but their players and their fans don’t deserve this. Is this club so poorly managed that they can’t hire a new head coach? What is going on with the front office? Is it that the front office wants to maintain control of the team and personnel decisions and only wants the coach to coach the team on the field and not turn over control of the team to the coach? Something is so wrong with the Red Bulls management.

    Is it any wonder MLS is in such a hurry to get a new team in New York? MLS wants a franchise team in the great city of New York but the team they have in place can’t even hire a coach.

  16. MiamiAl says:

    Ruud Guillet? 😉

  17. the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

    Henry should be a player/coach. problem solved….This has to be one of the worst run teams in American sports.

    • SoccerRoo says:

      Toronto FC has by far been the worst team in the history of MLS – bar none!!!! They get the nod as worst run teams in American and Canadian Sports History!!!

    • Sean says:

      You mean the guy who publicly criticized Cooper during a season in which he scored almost twenty goals? You mean the guy who supported Hans Backe? He mean the guy who said the team was better with Marquez? You mean the guy who has tried to influence decisions that the organization makes through his guy?

      Yeah, let’s make Henry player/coach. Problem solved.

  18. Jon says:

    Wy-nal-da! Wy-nal-da! Wy-nal-da!

    C’mon, it’ll be fun.

  19. Hopper says:

    I miss the MetroStars.

  20. JL says:

    Boy the offseason hasn’t been a great one for the league has it? Lots of name players leaving/retiring/loaned, the TFC and NY coaching nonsense, the Chivas ups and downs…No big signings, no returning Nats.

  21. McQ says:

    I heard that Sousa turned down the job after being told that the Redbulls had acquired the rights to Tim Tebow and that he would have to play him in the holding mid position as opposed to his traditional left back.

  22. Edwin in LA says:

    I was going to say Preki even tho it seem out of nowhere seems like the logical choice with guys who are available. Glad Ives agrees. Just get it together and hire someone damn it!

  23. Colin in MT says:

    i know this doesn’t look good for the organization but it may end up being a blessing in disguise. could wind up getting richie williams

  24. Matt says:

    Why would anyone take this job now? This reminds me of those NFL teams that couldn’t sign Peyton Manning this past offseason only to resign their previous QB and tell him that “you were always our guy.” How much of their time and effort will a new coach put into this knowing that the Red Bulls are still going to be looking for the guy they really want in that position? I say you already have an interim head coach in place in Petke and it would only be worse to add a 2nd interim head coach to the staff. As a NYRB fan, I plead to that NYRB will just give Petke a shot this season and start the coaching search again next offseason (or midseason if Petke is doing a bad job).

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Your ownership group should rename the team to reflect the way it is run… the New York Red Headed Step Children. Just so sad, what they’re doing to the fans and the league with this junk.

      But hey, for what it’s worth, one of “those NFL teams” is playing in the Superbowl. This fact brought to you by the number 6, and the letters S and F.

  25. SaboCM says:

    So happy I renewed my season tix. At this point, I hope we do hire someone with MLS experience. Steve Nicol would be great. I would even entertain the idea of Wynalda. At least it would make things more interesting if the ship sinks

    • Aguinaga says:

      At least it would make things more interesting when the ship sinks. Those of us attached to this team like a crack fiend loves crack, unable to pull away even though we should, know at least that much.

    • james says:

      Wynalda would turn the Red Bulls from circus sideshow to Main Tent Freak Show. “Ladies and gentleman, step right up. For a mere $5 you can see The Bearded Lady, the 800 Pound Man, a Miniature Pink Elephant, and Eric Wynalda as a head coach of grown men!”

      • chris says:

        He sure didnt have a problem taking an amatuer team and beating Portland. The only circus show you guys have is Henry. Watching him prance around and complain all game is pure comedy. Oh he cant work with Agudelo. Oh he cant get along with Cooper, who scores more goals than him. Its almost unwatchable how pompus he is but its also funny knowing he’ll never win anything in MLS

        • Eurosnob says:

          I agree with you on Wynalda, but I don’t think Henry is the cause of NYRB’s problems. I don’t like NYRBs, but Henry is a fantastic player – just watch a replay of his last year’s game against Toronto year (1 goal; 3 assists) and you’ll see how he set up Cooper for 2 very easy goals (essentially tap ins). It’s their disfunctional front office, which comes up with all sorts of lame excuses for their boneheaded decisions.

  26. Cristian says:

    This whole situation is just pissing me off. Have they thought yet that maybe they are having a hard time because they
    1) Won’t make smart decisions.
    There is a field of intelligent, MLS-experienced head coaches available and they want to go foreign. But they choose to go foreign with the most mediocre coaches. I’m sorry, but a minute-footnote of a coach for a bottom-table European team is going to have a hard enough time adjusting, let alone if you hire them right AS THE SEASON STARTS.
    If they’re going to go foreign, go big-or-stay-home. Pep Guardiola (haha) lived in NY. Open up the coffers and make an offer. Otherwise, be smart.

    2) The back-office is overly-involved. What’s the point of even HIRING a manager if you’ve already made all the decisions he should be making? You’ve done the draft, hiring, firing, signing, etc. already. What’s left? You basically are looking for a cheerleader to stand on the sideline. Also, who the heck hires the main assistant coach for someone in the first place? What is there left for the potential manager to even do?

    3) Refuse to have stability. We can’t go more than a few months before trying to jump the shark. We’ll get a rhythm going (finally) and then its “hey, let’s see if we can mix things up.. Surely our fans must be getting tired of our stagnant club culture…” Now a lot of the deals that were made this offseason were needed. Rafa and Backe needed to go. But can you give us fans something to root for? I don’t even risk trying to buy a team shirt because I have no idea who the hell will be playing by the time I go to the next game!

    4) Ignore what they already have. You know what? Petke could probably have been a decent coach. If you didn’t belittle him and constantly comment about his impermanence, maybe he’d have the confidence to do it, and the fans could have confidence in his attempt. But now if you try to whitewash it and say “Oh, Petke was actually ALWAYS our man,” we’ll know you were lying. And why would we want someone you didn’t give the light of day too?

    Don’t we have like, the worst record when it comes to maintaining our organization? Never letting things grow organically, instead just idiotically moving on to “the next big thing?” Just off the top of my head, Agudelo, Howard, Angel, Altidore, Pope, Bradley, and about half the current USMNT has been on the team at one point. If you had kept even a quarter of these players and built around them, or developed them, none of these other issues (including inability to compete even in the entry of the USOC) would probably exist. In fact, RBNY might be a powerhouse. But you’re greedy. You’re inconsistent. You make no sense.

    You wonder why you have poor attendance, and poor media representation? Now you know. New York City and Long Island would love to have you, you little bastard from Jersey. But most people don’t even know you exist, or when they try to get close, you push them away! Who wants to buy posters when you can’t even keep them up by the end of the year because half those players are gone? Or losing dreadfully because we have a coach that doesn’t like Americans and keeps Agudelo on the bench and doesn’t even put him out on loan so we can keep him developed and take him back? You can’t produce and you lie and lead us on. About everything, from your goals, to your aspirations, to the fact that you’ll be building us a pitch with heated turf (which subsequently embarrasses US. August 18th, 2009 my ass. The snow wasn’t even a teensy melted, and during interviews with that coach you were fighting with, he verified it was unheated!)

    If we fans were in a relationship with you, we would be beyond therapy. This is some abusive, Law & Order SVU type shit. And you wonder why so many hurt fans are running into the arms of Ny2 and Cosmos. They treat them nice and don’t hurt them. Now, I know we aren’t like all those prettier teams out there with their fancy stuff, and fancy owners who the fans know the name of, and I don’t know if this is my battered fan syndrome talking, but I’m offering you one last chance. Please. From here I can only see this going one of two ways, 1) you can try to take these critiques and work through our troubles, or 2) You beat us so severely that, if we even survive the homicide attempt, we have no choice but to run into the open arms of that nice boy from Queens.

    • Scott says:

      I used to think that it sucked when my best soccer option was hours away at a USL side. Now I know that some have it worse. Bring on the “2nd” New York team and maybe they will get one worth supporting.

  27. beto says:

    as much as i enjoy watching NYRB screw up, i am happy that they didn’t hire that guy! The list of “more conservative” coaches sounds much better. Stevie Nicol would be my pick, he should be back in MLS; but Marsch, Fraser, Hamlett or Petke could all do well. An odd ball like Preki could also be a good hire in NY. no lack of options, just a ticking clock!

  28. Felix says:

    I’m a Fire fan, and somewhat get a laugh at this disastrous club.
    But I can only imagine being a fan of RBNY and having to endure this. There’s people who get paid big dollars, to be so ineffective – its absolutely ridiculous.

  29. Greg G says:

    Is the “scrambling” part speculation or do the sources say they are actually scrambling?

  30. Gino says:

    Wynalda as head coach and Harkes as first assistant.

  31. The Imperative Voice says:

    This could not be run by the same sort of people who handle the Red Bull Racing squad that has won Vettel back to back F1 championships. I realize that the team itself has to color between the salary cap lines, but is there any limit to what they pay a coach? If not, open the checkbook and sign a big name to a ridiculous deal but tell them it’s a salary cap league and they need at least some MLS-experienced assistants who know the player pool, the cap rules, the acquisition rules, the range of possible tactics, etc.

    I mean, I understand trying to think it through, but Red Bull as a company is loaded and basically using this as advertising, so even though I think a bright MLS coach like Arena or Bradley or Kinnear or Sigi is ideal, all else fails, plonk down a big check for the Best Available like this is Formula One. I can’t imagine a bigtime coach absolutely craters.

  32. Tony in Quakeland says:


  33. bryan says:


  34. Russian Assasin says:

    Is Maradona avialable?

  35. inkedAG says:

    Of course hindsight is 20/20 but I wonder if Don Garber & MLS totally regret Red Bull buying into the league.

    I’m figuring since he has such a huge push for NY2, the answer is yes.

    • james says:

      I’m sure MLS would like the franchise to be run better. However, I’m sure they would much rather have them in the league than not. They do spend money and Henry is good to have in the league. Of course, they also have to have a franchise in NY.

      So better in then out even if it is painful sometimes.

    • Bobb says:

      They have one of the two nicest stadiums in the league.
      They have the HIGHEST PAYROLL in the league.

      So, I doubt it.

      Chivas USA on the other hand…..

    • Scott A says:

      They sold us out, selling to a company that would rebrand us as an energy drink.

    • Sean says:

      In theory I would have no problem with a company buying a football club. Where I had the problem, and sometimes still do, is that they named the club after the company. Clubs should always have a local, relevant name that connects it with the community. Red Bull should have rebranded it something local (or kept MetroStars) and used their logo on jerseys, stadium, etc. it’s sometimes hard to get excited about supporting Red Bull – the same way I wouldn’t be excited as the New York Duarcell, Kotex, General Mills, Nabisco, Bank of America, or etc.

      • Cavan says:

        That makes sense. It shows how little Red Bull GmbH researched American sporting culture to know that fans identify with team names rather than club names. Or, more that in our country the team name is the club name rather than the other way around like in Europe. It would have made a lot of sense to keep the “Metros” name and put Red Bull as the jersey, stadium, and league sponsor.

  36. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    haha….can’t get their s#!+ right!

  37. Us casual says:

    Who cares as a fan of the club big deal. We will be just fine. I have no reason to be upset. If they pick Mike fine. If they bring in another guy so be it.

  38. Bostitch says:

    No wonder Marquez called MLS ” an amateur league”

  39. anon says:

    If Red Bulls really want a foreigner, they should go with one of:
    Steve Nicol
    John Spencer
    Gary Smith

    If they want an American asst, options are:
    Curt Onalfo
    Cobi Jones
    Gregg Berhalter
    Carlos Llamosa
    Eric Wynalda

    • Sean says:

      I think Owen Coyle would be a good option.

      He’s got the passion of a David Moyes. He’s demonstrated an appreciation for the American player by signing Stuart Holden and Tim Ream (former Red Bull) to Bolton. Although he has a varied record, he did guide Bolton from the Championship to the top flight (a task Sousa couldn’t do with three Championship squads), and he wouldn’t command the salary of a Pep Guardiola.

    • Sean says:

      Or, Petke or Wynalda, with Reyna and Meola as assistant coaches.

  40. felipe says:

    the best outcome will be Petke coaching and NYRB starting 10-1-1 – Not realistic, but this IS sports

  41. Cairo says:

    I have an idea–why not hire an active player from the EPL still under contract as a player, who can’t come in for at least half a season? John Terry coaching RBNY! Can’t fail, and a totally out of the box idea…

  42. Han Solo says:

    Bring on Preki.

  43. JR says:


  44. dan says:

    this is what happens when u wait till the last min

  45. Irrlicht says:

    Petke is in much the same situation that Benny Olsen was in with DCU, popular former player who doesn’t immediately get a vote of confidence from upper management. The Metros should hire him, should have hired him immediately with a vote of confidence. However, the Metros will continue to F this up because that is what they do. My hatred for that team was already complete before I rode all day in a bus in the snow to watch interns half-heartedly shoveling snow and flipping us (750 of us…) off… This year the circus continues and this year we get to keep singing the “How Many Trophies Have You Won” song… See you in March Metros.

  46. Jack says:

    Foreign coach options:

    Steve Nicol, Gary Smith, John Spencer.

    Avram Grant’s still available…

    Domestic coach options:

    Curt Onalfo, Preki, Fraser, Marsch, Berhalter, Llamosa, Ramos, Williams

    • BSkillz says:

      Interesting to me that no one has mentioned Paul Mariner yet. Put he and Steve Nicol in charge in NY. Worked wonders for New England for a good 5 years. Mariner said in the past that he did not prefer the head coaching position, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to take an assistant role behind Nicol again.

  47. Captain Obvious says:

    The Metro Cows should hire Waldo.

  48. Brain Guy says:

    I am available. My salary demands are modest. And I have been watching MLS games since 1996.

  49. Joamiq says:

    Hahahaha. Of course. This team. Sigh.

    Just appoint Petke head coach already.

  50. Sabella says:

    Wynalda has been mentioned several times above and I think that, while a little risky, I would support it. We need a coach with fire. We need a coach that won’t be a pawn to Henry. We need a coach with pedigree. Wynalda possesses all of those traits. This is a team that should have won or at least made it to the MLS Cup last season. A losing attitude was pervasive throughout the organization. You can say what you want about Eric Wynalda but he ain’t a loser….he’s a winner and i think he may be the guy to pump some life into this club.

  51. WorldCitizen says:

    LOL! “Just what went wrong” was Sousa probably got wind of what RBNY is actually like — a cleanup and restoration job that not even ServPro would touch!

  52. Tom says:

    smart hire would be ferdi dimatthaeis.. former cosmo player italian coach, knows MLS and current coach atIMG

  53. unbeknownst says:

    Nigel Adkins. Solved.

  54. Mike says:

    Funny how only a few have mentioned Tab Ramos who I think will eventually lead this club and could be called in now, let’s just wait and see. I’d love to see Petke but he said himself he’s not ready so let that one go for now.

  55. Chris2 says:

    Arnie Ramirez!

  56. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Ives, why is Steve Nichols name not being mentioned? He would be the perfect fit, IMHO.

  57. Hildy says:

    Last report is that the RedBulls Front Office are trolling the EA Sports servers & collecting a list of candidates from people who are doing well in manger mode in FIFA13 :)

    • Andrew says:

      They should hire me then.With NYRB I’ve managed in 2 and a half years to bring Holden, Matic, Fabian Johnson, Bunbury, Wondolowski, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wellington Silva, Joseph Gyau, Robbie Rogers, and Victor Wanyama to NY. Meanwhile, having won 2 MLS Cups, a Supporter’s Shield and a US Open Cup. I have my sights set on binging Michael Bradley back to the club as well.

  58. elderado says:

    they have made it really hard to be a fan, ever since the opener in 1996 and the own goal by Caricola