Monday, December 7, 2009

Erik Soler Named Red Bulls Sporting Director/GM

So, it's a done deal! Erik Soler, Norway's Sexy Man 1984, has finally been Officially Announced as the new Sporting Director/General Manager of Red Bull NY. The worst kept secret in MLS for the past three weeks, Soler takes over the position held by one Jeff Agoos who (in tandem with one Juan Carlos Osorio) turned an MLS Cup finalist (2008) into the worst team in the league (2009). Can he turn things around? Well, I really don't know, but let's see what he has to say on the matter:

My analysis? Well, he states that his best asset is his knowledge of football, however he readily admits to not knowing much about football here in this country. That's not very comforting, to say the least. He does, however, go on to state that "This is all about team-work. It's not about me coming in and trying to be the King of anything". Now, this is what I like to hear, as it offers some hope that Soler will surround himself with people who know Major League Soccer. This is key, as decisions have to be made now that will impact the future of this club, for a long time to come. The Cathedral of Football is about to open in less than 4 months and a team worthy of it has to be in place by then. This will take a major revamping of the roster, with shrewd moves by someone who knows what the deal is here.

It's been well documented how several foreign coaches have come into MLS and have botched things up, if only because they don't know the limitations of the league structure. The most recent example is Ruud Gullit, who found it almost impossible to get the LA Galaxy playing "Sexy Football" and was soon gone. Soler, however, isn't coming here to coach. By his own admission, he knows little about this league. One would think he'd WANT to hire a coach with expert knowledge of how things work on this side of the Atlantic. Let me tell him right now: He's got the perfect candidate right under his sexy nose.

One thing is for sure, Soler better hire someone quick, as one report has Jeff Agoos preparing the Red Bulls for the upcoming MLS Draft. This would be a disaster, in my opinion. Examples of Agoos' incompetence are well documented and surface even today. Here's hoping Soler does the right thing.


  1. Ives has a brief story up now from today's press conference (with more to come later). Solér would not confirm any coaching candidates, with the exception of Williams, and says that a foreign coach is a possibility. Also said that whoever he hires, the club will have the requisite in-house knowledge of MLS rules and structures.

    No timetable on a new manager.

  2. Just home from a long gig today and finally had a chance to peruse the news.

    I like that he has been an organizational psychologist in the past... basically, a guy who identifies the problems in dysfunctional organizations and fixes them--he does seem like someone who wants to be a leader, not a dictator.

    The negatives, at least right now, are things we presume and infer from past experiences within the team and the league: he's foriegn, he's unfamiliar with the MLS.

    What remains to be seen are whether his education and his football knowledge, combined with his leadership style, will work to overcome his shortcomings in MLS. If he really does create a strong organizational structure, and then fills that structure with the right combination of people, he seems like a very good selection to me.

    I'm glad to think that there is someone now empowered to choose a direction and steer the ship. I'm praying that he chooses wisely--hell, I'm willing to accept it if he just chooses luckily!

    Cautiously optimistic. Waiting for decisions to be made.