Finalist Red Bulls Prepare for 2009

The 2008 MLS Cup Finalist New York Red Bulls start preparing for their 2009 campaign this week with a mini camp at the Giants Stadium Practice Bubble (located between Gates A and D in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ). This training camp is only for the four rookies the Red Bulls drafted in this year’s MLS SuperDraft as well as selected players invited.

The Red Bulls return to the field after their most successful season to date. After qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the sixth-straight season, the Red Bulls made a magical run as the eighth seed, defeating two-time defending champion, the Houston Dynamo (4-1 on aggregate), and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Final en route to their first MLS Cup Final. The Western Conference Champion’s run ended at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, when it fell to the Columbus Crew, 3-1. Forward John Wolyniec scored the lone goal for the Red Bulls.

There were several highlights to 2008:
–        In his first year at the helm, head coach Juan Carlos Osorio became the first man in club history to lead the Red Bulls into the MLS Cup Final. Osorio garnered a 9-11-10 record in the regular season before guiding New York to a monumental upset series win over Houston and an away victory at Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Final.
–        Forward Juan Pablo Angel continued his goalscoring panache in his second year in MLS, finding the back of the net 14 times despite missing over a month in the first half of the season due to lower back and hamstring injuries. The 2007 MLS MVP Finalist has accrued 33 goals in just 47 games for New York, which is third all-time in club history and most for any MLS player in the past two years (D.C. United’s Luciano Emilio is second with 31). Angel, who scored two goals in the Red Bulls’ playoff run, enters 2009 nine regular season goals shy of breaking Giovanni Savarese’s club record.
–        In net, the Red Bulls return two capable goalkeepers who impressed in 2008. Goalkeeper Jon Conway earned a starting role and played the team’s first 28 games of the season – a career-high. After Conway was suspended by MLS for the remainder of the season, second-year goalkeeper Danny Cepero stepped in-between the posts and in his debut, became the first player to score a goal in a crucial 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew on Oct. 18. Cepero then backstopped the Red Bulls’ playoff run, allowing just one goal in three games en route to the final.
–        The Red Bulls return a number of key veterans who were crucial to the team’s playoff run, including defenders Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Leitch and Andrew Boyens, midfielders Seth Stammler, Carlos Mendes and Jorge Rojas, and forward John Wolyniec, who was the first player in club history to score a goal in the MLS Cup Final. In addition, youngsters Dane Richards, Luke Sassano and Sinisa Ubiparipovic – players who started in all four of the Red Bulls’ playoff games – return to New York.
–        The Red Bulls went 9-3-3 at Giants Stadium for the second-straight season.

Please contact a member of the Red Bulls Communications Staff if you have any requests or questions.

This Week’s Schedule (subject to change):
Monday, Jan. 19: Rookies/Invited Players report for entrance physicals (NO AVAILABILITY)
Tuesday, Jan. 20: Rookies/Invited Players camp at 10:00 AM ET at Giants Stadium Bubble
Wednesday, Jan. 21: Rookies/Invited Players camp at 10:00 AM ET at Giants Stadium Bubble
Thursday, Jan. 22: Rookies/Invited Players camp at 10:00 AM ET at Giants Stadium Bubble
Friday, Jan. 23: Rookies/Invited Players camp at 10:00 AM ET at Giants Stadium Bubble/Remaining Players report for entrance physicals.
Saturday, Jan. 24: OFF
Sunday, Jan. 25: OFF

RED BULLS ANNOUNCE 2009 PRESEASON SCHEDULE: 2008 MLS Cup Finalist New York Red Bulls announced their preseason training schedule for the 2009 Major League Soccer campaign.

The full team will report starting on Jan. 23. After training in New Jersey on the week of Jan. 26, the squad will head to Bradenton, FL, on Feb. 2 and will train and play scrimmages until Feb. 14. Less than a week later, the team will head to Argentina for the Red Bulls’ second training camp of the year, before returning to the New York/New Jersey area on March 9.

2009 New York Red Bulls Preseason Schedule:

Jan. 23 – Full team reports for entrance physicals
Jan. 26 – First training sessions at Giants Stadium (practice time TBD)
Feb. 2 – Team travels to Bradenton, FL, for training (practice schedule/matches TBD)
Feb. 14 – Team returns to NY/NJ area
Feb. 20 – Team leaves for Argentina (practice schedule/matches TBD)
March 9 – Team returns to NY/NJ area
March 19 – Red Bulls at Seattle Sounders FC at 9 PM ET (TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; Radio: WADO 1280 AM)

BULLS KICK OFF ’09 RUN AGAINST SOUNDERS: Major League Soccer announced that 2008 MLS Cup finalist, the New York Red Bulls, will help kick off the 2009 MLS Regular Season when they travel to Qwest Field to take on the League’s newest team, Seattle Sounders FC, on Thursday, March 19 at 9 PM ET in a match that will be nationally televised live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. On the following weekend, the Red Bulls return to Giants Stadium for their home opener, when they will face Eastern Conference rival, the New England Revolution, on Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 PM ET (TV: TBD).

A week later, the Red Bulls will head to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, to face the Chicago Fire on Sunday, April 5, at 3 PM ET (TV: TeleFutura).

Seattle Sounders FC is MLS’ 15th team in the League. Already boasting Designated Player and Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, standout American goalkeeper Kasey Keller and former Red Bulls defender Jeff Parke, Seattle was awarded an expansion team by MLS on Nov. 13, 2007.

Forward Taylor Twellman and the New England Revolution will travel down to the Meadowlands the following weekend to face New York in the Red Bulls’ home opener. Since MLS’ inaugural season in 1996, the Red Bulls and Revolution have played 53 games in all competitions. This will be sixth time in which the Red Bulls have hosted the Revolution in their home opener with New York currently holding a 3-1-1 record in those matches. Last season, the Red Bulls went 0-0-2 against New England.

Please note, per MLS, all game dates, times and venues are subject to change.

Each team will play a 30-game regular season. Of the 15 teams that will compete in 2009, seven will be in the Eastern Conference and eight will be in the Western Conference, where Seattle Sounders FC is the newest addition. Each team will play every other MLS team home and away, for a base of 28 games. Two additional games against intra-conference rivals will complete each team’s 30-game schedule. The regular season ends on Oct. 25.

BULLS ADD FOUR IN MLS SUPERDRAFT: Red Bull New York selected four players in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 15, 2009 held at the St. Louis Convention Center in St. Louis, MO. The Red Bulls picked midfielder Jeremy Hall from the University of Maryland (first round, 11th overall), defender Babajide Ogunbiyi from Santa Clara University (second round, 18th overall), defender Jack Traynor from the University of Notre Dame (second round, 29th overall) and midfielder Nick Zimmerman from James Madison University (third round, 44th overall).

With their first selection, the Red Bulls selected Hall. A member of MLS’ Generation adidas class, Hall was a 2008 All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team selection in 2008 after scoring 14 goals and seven assists in 26 games, helping the Terps win the NCAA Championship. Over three seasons at Maryland, the 5-11, 163-pound 20-year-old from Tampa, FL, played in 66 games, recording 26 goals and 14 assists. In his rookie season, the left-sided attacking midfielder was ACC Freshman of the Year and second on the team in goals with seven.

Hall was a member of the U.S. Soccer Residency program since 2003 and earned 22 caps with the U.S. U-17 National Team, competing in the U-17 World Championships in 2005. At Bradenton High School, Hall was a two-time NSCAA/adidas All-American and Parade All-American.

A 6-4, 212-pound defender, who also had featured at forward in his college career, Ogunbiyi played 77 games over four seasons for the Broncos, earning 2008 All-WCC First Team and NSCAA All-Far West Third Team honors in his senior season. Ogunbiyi (OH-gun-bee) helped lead Santa Clara to back-to-back West Coast Conference titles and three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. During his time at Santa Clara, the Gwynedd, PA native recorded 11 goals and eight assists.

In 2008, Ogunbiyi spent the summer training with the Nigerian National Team and was part of the Olympic Team Pool. Ogunbiyi was called up in Nov. 2007 to the Nigerian Under-23 National Team but did not play. A member of the Nigerian Youth National Team Program, Ogunbiyi was born in Rochester, NY and attended Wissahickon High School in Ambler, PA.

Traynor, a 5-9, 160-pound left-sided defender from St. Charles, MO, recorded 86 appearances and 82 starts during his four years at Notre Dame. A three time All-Big East selection, the 21-year-old was a two-time Big East Academic All-Star during his junior and senior year. In 2006, Traynor helped lead the Fighting Irish to their first-ever quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a return trip a year later. Notre Dame was also the Big East regular season champion in his junior and senior years. Traynor graduated from Francis Howell North High School, where he was a two-time all-state and all-city selection.

Zimmerman, 22, was a two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association selection and led the Dukes in goals (6) and assists (5) last season. A NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region third team selection in 2008, Zimmerman played 75 games during his four-year career at JMU, recording 13 goals and 21 assists. The 6-0, 184-pound Tampa Bay, FL native attended Wharton High School, where he was a two-time all-state and all-county pick.

The four picks in this year’s SuperDraft is the most New York has held in one year since 2004, when it had six selections.

ON THE DRAFT: Red Bulls Sporting Director Jeff Agoos and midfielder Jeremy Hall’s reactions at the draft:

Red Bull New York Sporting Director Jeff Agoos

On drafting four new players:
“It’s exciting because there’s a lot of work that goes into the selection process.  And it’s a new crop of players, and you really hope that every one of these guys not only makes the team but contributes in some way this year.  But it’s a long process and as we’ve seen it takes a long time for players to adapt to MLS.”

On first selection, midfielder Jeremy Hall:
“He was a big part for Maryland over the course of his career.  We were ecstatic that he was around at number 11.  In addition, we get the benefit of the Generation Adidas contract, where it doesn’t count against out salary cap.  So there are a lot of pluses with Jeremy; his versatility, not just about what he is on the field but what we have understood about him off the field, he’s a class act.  I think we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as part of our organization.”

On second selection, defender Babajide Ogunbiyi:
“You look at our team now with all our selections made, we have a lot more athletic team.  We’ve got Dominic Oduro, Dane Richards, Matthew Mbuta, Mac Kandji, Ogunbiyi.  That may not always translate on the field to a better soccer team, but we hope it will.  When you combine very good athletes and very good soccer players, you have something that’s hopefully very exciting.”

On third selection, defender Jack Traynor:
“In meeting and talking to him, he’s a lot like (current Red Bull’s defender) Kevin Goldthwaite.  We’re very excited about Jack coming in and trying to earn a spot on our team and in our Starting 11.  We’re looking for a guy on the left side who can help us out and give us some more depth.  We think Jack, being from Notre Dame with the pedigree that Bobby Clark instills there, is just going to be a real good selection.”

On fourth selection, midfielder Nick Zimmerman:
“We’ve got quite a number of right midfielders, so I think there may be some versatility with him, and maybe use him as a right back or right midfielder.  But we liked what we saw at the combine and we’re excited about having him in camp. ”

Midfielder Jeremy Hall

On being drafted:
“It’s a dream come true.  I didn’t know where I was going to go to the draft, and to be selected by New York, it’s a great team.”

On how nerve-wracking the day was:
“Well to be honest, I tried not to think about it so much.  We looked into stuff, read everything, but couldn’t really look into it too much because we didn’t know what to expect.  I can say that this morning, waking up, it kind of hit me a little bit, especially walking in and seeing all the chairs lined up, and the mark-up board.  But like I said I’m just so excited to be a New York Red Bull right now.”

On competing for a starting spot:
“I know its going to be tough.  I don’t expect to be given anything.  I know guys are there right now and the coaches know them.  So I know I’m going to have to step in right away, show the coaches what I’ve got and hopefully I’ll be given the chance to step in that spot.”

On seeking advice from Seth Stammler, another University of Maryland product:
“Yeah, he’s another Maryland guy.  I’m definitely going to ask advice from him as well as the other veterans. He’s definitely going to be one of the guys I’m going to look to”

On school:
“I have 39 credits left until I graduate.  Sometime, I’ll take some online classes here and there to finish up and get my degree (in Family Science) because I’m so close.”

AGOOS NAMED TO HALL OF FAME: Five-time MLS Champion and Red Bulls Sporting Director Jeff Agoos and two-time World Champion Joy Fawcett were elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in a national television announcement on Fox Soccer Channel’s Center Circle Live broadcast from St. Louis on Jan. 15. Hall of Fame President Steve Baumann introduced the two players before an audience of soccer coaches attending the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Annual Convention.

“The Hall of Fame is proud to honor the two newest players to be elected to the Hall of Fame, Jeff Agoos and Joy Fawcett,” Baumann said as the two entered the studio area. “These players have distinguished themselves and soccer in the United States through outstanding careers of championships and accomplishments. Each has represented the United States in international competition at the highest level and earned the distinction I am pleased to announce tonight.”

Agoos played 134 times for the U.S. Men’s National Team, the second most in the team’s history. His national team career included participation in two World Cups (1998 and 2002) and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He began his Major League Soccer career with D.C. United and won the MLS Cup in the league’s first year, 1996. He went on to win an additional four MLS Cups, two more with D.C. United and two with the San Jose Earthquakes, for whom he played in the 2001 through 2004 seasons. He retired from his MLS career with the New York MetroStars, now Red Bulls, following the 2005 season. Agoos played collegiate soccer at the University of Virginia, winning an NCAA Division I championship in 1989.

A total of 159 ballots were cast in the Players Election. Agoos was named on 108 ballots (67.9%) and Fawcett was selected on 106 ballots (66.7%). A player must be selected on 66.7% of the ballots cast to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The other top ten in the election were:

Preki Rasosavljevic                        96 votes                        60.4%
Thomas Dooley                                85 votes                        53.5%
Marco Etcheverry                        78 votes                        49.1%
Earnie Stewart                                68 votes                        42.8%
Joe-Max Moore                                67 votes                        42.1%
Carlos Valderrama                        59 votes                        37.1%
Shannon MacMillan                        51 votes                        32.1%
Peter Vermes                                50 votes                        31.4%

The Induction 2009 ceremony will be held on Sunday, Aug. 2 at the Hall of Fame and Museum located in Oneonta, NY. The weekend will include the Big 3 Enshrinement Ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 1 and numerous other fan-oriented activities. For full details on the weekend, visit

RED BULLS DEAL MAGEE TO L.A.: Red Bull New York announced on Jan. 14 that it has acquired a second round 2010 MLS SuperDraft pick from the Los Angeles Galaxy in exchange for midfielder/forward Mike Magee.

“We want to thank Mike for his contributions to the New York franchise and wish him the best of luck in Los Angeles,” said Red Bull New York Sporting Director Jeff Agoos. “While Mike is certainly a talented player, we felt that this trade would provide us added flexibility moving forward.”

Magee, 24, recorded five goals and an assist in 26 games played in 2008. Prior to today’s trade, the Chicago, IL native was the longest-tenured Red Bull, having been with the club since 2003. Magee, who was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, was third all-time in club history in games played (130) and was the team’s sixth-leading goalscorer (23).

BEEN HERE FOR A WHILE: With the Red Bulls’ trading Mike Magee to Los Angeles, midfielder/defender Seth Stammler is now the longest consecutively-tenured Red Bull, having been with the club since 2004 when he was drafted in the second round (18th overall) of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. However, several players including forward John Wolyniec and defenders Chris Leitch and Mike Petke have enjoyed other stints in New York prior to Stammler’s arrival. Petke, who was acquired in last November’s MLS Waiver Draft from Colorado, is the club’s all-time games played (134) and games started (129) leader.
KANDJIMAN RETURNS: Red Bull New York announced on Jan. 13 that forward Macoumba Kandji had signed a contract with Major League Soccer and will be part of the Red Bulls’ roster in 2009. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We liked what we saw from Mac during his time on loan with us,” said Red Bull New York Sporting Director Jeff Agoos. “Mac has shown that he is capable of playing at a higher level and we look forward to his contribution in the future.”

Kandji originally joined the club on loan from the United Soccer League First Division’s Atlanta Silverbacks on Sept. 15, 2008. To acquire Kandji on a permanent basis, the Red Bulls paid an undisclosed transfer fee. He made MLS debut on Sept. 27 vs. Colorado, coming on as a sub in the first of his five appearances, which included two starts.  The Dakar, Senegal native scored his first MLS goal on the road at the Chicago Fire on Oct. 23, and assisted on two others over his 270 minutes of action.  He was among the 18 in each of New York’s four playoff matches, coming on as a sub in the series clinching win at the Houston Dynamo as well as the MLS Cup Final.
AS DOES MENDES: Red Bull New York announced on Jan. 7 that defender Carlos Mendes had signed a new contract with Major League Soccer and will be part of the Red Bulls’ roster in 2009. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“During his time with New York, Carlos has proven himself to be a sound defensive player,” said Red Bull New York Sporting Director Jeff Agoos. “He brings stability and versatility to our lineup and his contributions to the team extend beyond his performance on the field.  We are excited that we were able to come to terms with Carlos and look forward to his contribution in 2009.”

Mendes was originally signed to the club’s senior roster on March 21, 2005, and has appeared in 95 matches for the club, making 81 starts over four seasons. He is coming off a 2008 campaign in which he played in 17 matches, making 10 starts.  Mendes came off the bench in the team’s series clinching win over the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Semifinals, and started the Western Conference Championship and MLS Cup Finals matches in central defense.
RED BULLS TRADE FOR SPEEDY ODURO: Red Bull New York announced on Jan. 13 that midfielder Dave van den Bergh was traded to FC Dallas in exchange for forward Dominic Oduro and a second round (18th overall) selection the 2009 MLS SuperDraft (the Red Bulls used the pick to select defender Babajide Ogunbiyi from Santa Clara University). In addition, the Red Bulls and FC Dallas have swapped first round picks in 2009. The Red Bulls selected 11th overall (used on midfielder Jeremy Hall from the University of Maryland), and FC Dallas selected 14th (used on midfielder George John from the University of Washington). Per MLS and club policy, specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“During the past two years with New York, Dave has been a key component to our success; we hoped to bring him back for 2009 but he expressed a desire to be traded to Dallas,” said Red Bull New York Sporting Director Jeff Agoos. “In making this trade, we were able to acquire a player in Dominic who we expect to plug into our starting lineup immediately and we are in better position to strengthen the team in the draft.

“This was not an easy decision for us to make,” Agoos continued. “Our discussions with Dave over the past six months have been very positive about keeping him with the Red Bulls, but it was clear that the best thing for both parties was to grant Dave’s trade request. We wish him and his family all the best with FC Dallas.”

Oduro, 23, joins the Red Bulls from FC Dallas where he scored a career-high five goals and two assists in 25 games played – nine of which were starts. The speedy forward from Pramso, Ghana, was originally drafted by FC Dallas in the second round (22nd overall) of the 2006 SuperDraft from Virginia Commonwealth University. In his rookie season, Oduro made 16 appearances and three starts, scoring one goal. In 2007, Oduro led FC Dallas with 29 games played, finding the back of the net three times while chipping in two assists.

At VCU, Oduro was the 2004 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year and was selected to the NSCAA All-American Third Team after scoring 18 goals and five assists in 41 matches during his two years at VCU. Prior to transferring to VCU, Oduro attended the University of Ghana.

Van den Bergh was originally acquired from the Kansas City Wizards on Jan. 11, 2007 in exchange for a 2007 third round MLS Supplemental Draft pick. He is coming off a 2008 campaign in which he played in integral role in the club’s Western Conference Championship and MLS Cup Finals appearance.  The former Dutch international scored a career-high seven goals, adding five assists.  Both totals ranked him second on the team.  He opened the 2008 season for the Red Bulls by scoring just 46 seconds into the match, a team record, and tallied the game-winner in New York’s win over Real Salt Lake, giving the organization its first conference championship and MLS Cup Finals berth.

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media