The club announced today that it has named Hans Backe as the club’s new head coach. Backe, who has almost three decades of European coaching experience, will retain assistant coach Richie Williams and goalkeeper coach Des McAleenan for his staff. Jeremy Holsopple will also join the staff as the team’s Strength and Conditioning Coach. The Red Bulls will introduce Backe to the local media at a later date.

Backe enjoyed success in a number of European leagues, capturing four Danish titles with FC Copenhagen (2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04) and Aalborg BK (1998-99). He also won the Danish Cup in 2004 and the Danish Super Cup in 2001 and 2004 with Copenhagen. Backe was with Aalborg from 1998-2000 and headed Copenhagen from 2001-05.

The 57-year-old Swede joins the Red Bulls after a short stint with English League Two side, Notts County. Prior to being hired by Notts County, Backe worked as an assistant manager at Manchester City in the English Premiership with former England National Team manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, from 2007-08. Backe later joined Eriksson’s staff when Eriksson became the Mexican National Team head coach on June 3, 2008.

Backe started his illustrious career with Swedish club, Djurgardens IF, before moving to other major teams in Scandinavia including Stabek, Hammarby IF, Osters IF and AIK. He has also coached at SV Salzburg and Greek Super League team, Panathinakos.




  1. Mike from linden Says:

    Really? An unknown? At least we still have richie and dez at least. This to me is very questionable

    • sublicon Says:

      Where in “three decades of european coaching experience” do you get “unknown”?

    • lou Says:

      i agree with you mike. coaching experience in europe has for the most part, not translated into success in the mls, so his 3 decades of european coaching experience isn’t really that big of a selling point. At least we still have richie and dez. I’ll try to remain optimistic though, maybe this guy can help lure in some european talent.

  2. Alle Says:

    I had a feeling this would happen! I’m pretty sure that Richie was frustrated after hearing the news. We’re lucky that he’ll be staying atleast. Let’s see how this goes, it could work after all, especially since Backe’s a coach with experience.

  3. Dannyc58 Says:

    Well, finally have a coach. Now lets see what he can do. Glad Richie & Des are staying.

  4. Petke Fan Says:

    VERY glad Ritchie is staying, very glad Des is staying, because he’s the bomb.

    Very glad we have a coach. Would be nice if he had MLS experience, but, between him & Soler we’re now all Scandinavian all the time, so, let’s roll with the Herring and win some games.

  5. Dario Says:

    I with they just made Richie the head coach.

    But best of luck to Hans Backe. Maybe 13 is the lucky number for NYRB!

  6. Kpugs Says:

    Ugh..they hired a Sven Goran-Eriksson lackey? Sven himself would have been bad enough. But they hired a guy who has relied on Sven for work and lasted exactly two matches in Greece before being fired?

    Classic RBNY, here we effing go again.

  7. Pico Says:


    The fact that we might not have heard from him till now does not mean he is an unknown. There are many good managers in leagues around the world that we do not know about, and that are very good tactically but also developing players.

    He has had success in Denmark (physical league like MLS) so it is not like he comes from a different style. Hopefully Williams can help him make the transition to the MLS system.

    It makes you wonder how come Williams did not get the nod for four available coaching openings this off-season. He is a good guy, but maybe there is something about him that kept teams from offering him the job.


    • Alle Says:

      Didn’t DC offer him the job?

    • Mike from linden Says:

      1. There’s a nifty thing here called a reply where it would have been easier to see what you were saying.

      2. I’m sure there are great coaches that aren’t well-known around te world, like a certain guy I know (Richie Williams).

    • Cindy Says:

      i really do wonder why no one hired Richie as head… maybe they felt he didn’t have enough experience either? regardless i’m very happy he’s staying with us.

  8. eltigreferoz Says:

    Good luck to him!

    The headline, really, should have read: “Red Bulls Given Hans Job!”

  9. emilio Says:

    He has been a succesful manager with various clubs and is noted as an offensive minded coach who plays a 4-4-2, so it should be interesting. He has connections in Europe so hopefully that will get us some players and since Williams was retained that should help with the knowledge of American players.

  10. Lee Says:

    He have a very good system its a 4-4-2 but the team really push the ball hard if u get a good CAM this team will put alot of balls in the back of the net……….and a very strong def system too i think da bulls are in good hands with this guy

  11. Erik V Says:

    Looks like a good pick to me.
    One of the major problems (besides actual team) last year was the lack of communication/respect/chemistry between the Coach and General Manager.
    So The Austrians appointing a GM they know who then hires a Coach he (hopefully) knows and trust will do a good job, and most importantly keeping the two staff members that actually are good guys that know the MLS seems to me to be all good moves.
    So I wish all of them all the best transforming this team to a winning team.

  12. Steve S Says:

    I hope the conditioning coach actually introduces conditioning into the training. The Red Bulls always start walking in the second half, while their opponents are still running!

  13. RBNY fan Says:

    RBA construction cam isn’t working…or is it just my computer?

  14. Claude Says:

    God bless Richie Williams. I hope he got a huge retention bonus for putting up with the stooges that run RBNY.

  15. kofix5 Says:

    I like the fact that he’s got loads of experience & some recent back to back championships.
    It shows he’s got the chops and this is his opportunity to make his mark and a statement for any foreign coaches thinking about coming over here.
    Just because no one w/o MLS exp have been successful in their first year doesn’t mean no coach will ever come in and wipe the floor with league in his first year. Anything can happen, especially in this league where every team is so close in quality

  16. Pico Says:

    There are a couple of things that I have seen in the blogs today regarding the announcement of Hans Backe as the new RB coach.

    I will the first one to admin that I had not heard of him before today, however, having looked at his coaching history, it is fair to say that he has had success in Denmark and Sweden. Probably more professional success than any MLS coach. However, I can say that those leagues are very close in style and size to MLS with some of the same budget restrictions as we do. Furthermore, those leagues feed quite a few players to the direct style leagues as EPL and Bundesliga. The bigger difference with MLS is the player skill level and no need to go any further to the last friendly between the USMNT and Denmark. The Danish played a quick, direct, physical, and skilled style that completely destroyed our team. If that is what Hans brings to the table I am all for it.

    Now, in respect to Richie Williams. All those that complain that he did not get the job, you should remember that there were 4 MLS coaching jobs available this off-season and he did not have to stay with the RB. I do not know if he got offered any of them. And according to most, he meets all the criteria to the a head coach in this league. If he knew this team was going to get a foreign coach and still decided to take the money and stay as an assistant, that is something that we cannot blame the organization for.

    So where does this leave us now? Well, hopefully we have a coach that knows soccer and player development and handling (he has to if he has won 4 league titles) and an assistant that knows the quirkiness of this league. Between the two of them I think we can accomplish a lot this year. So we did not get a well known name like Sven-Goran Eriksson (glad we didn’t), but instead we got a solid coach from a solid program. That I am happy for.


  17. RBNY fan Says:

    I talked to one of my good friends who is Danish and a lifelong FC Copenhagen supporter, and he says we are in very good hands with Backe. The man has an impressive resume, and if you look at how successful American (ex-MLS) players have been in the Danish league, it goes to show that the same type of player can succeed in both leagues. Hopefully this means he will be able to successfully evaluate talent. The only problem is dealing with the rules. Hopefully Richie can help out here but really didn’t seem to help JCO.

  18. Alle Says:

    That’s because JCO was an idiot who wanted to do things his way, by going to Central and South America to get Rojas and company, and look where we ended up. I agree with your Copenhagen supporter, we should be in good hands here. It’s the Scandinavian connection, Soler + Backe, it fits. Next thing you know, we’ll have John Arne Riise at the club!

  19. Pico Says:

    Something I posted at SBI:

    I am really perplexed by the knee jerk reaction in regards to this announcement and to the apparent phobia to a foreign coach. I have a couple of questions about this issue:

    Given the number of foreign coaches that have passed through MLS and failed, is there a statistical analysis of the average time of employment at their MLS teams and their club records prior to joining the league? Is there a similar comparison for coaches from within the league or with some kind of MLS experience?

    Most every American publication and blog bring up the issue of necessary MLS experience as a requirement, but the question is up to what point are we making it something obscure as voodoo when it is really not?

    Let me frame the question differently. You have a neophyte MLS coach (soccer is young in the US and the league is not even two decades old) who knows the quirkiness of the system on one side, and a foreign coach who does not know MLS but has plenty of experience evaluating, teaching, handling players and competing at higher levels on the other. If you had to invest two years to make up for each others’ deficiency, which one would you take? Do you think that if given the time, a foreign coach will not learn the way MLS works? I say two years because I do not believe any of the foreign coaches has had that much time to accomplish anything.

    I am not going to deny that some really bad coaching decisions have been made for the wrong reasons, but this one seems different because the new RB GM gave the parameters of what they are looking for, why they are doing it that way, and they know what to expect to accomplish.

    Now, everyone likes to harp about how bad the JCO regime was, and there is no doubt that it was atrocious, but it is also be pointed that he had the assistance of a MLS insider in Agoos and still managed to screw the whole thing. Take the case of Dave Checketts who has had some success with RSL, he is not an MLS insider but he knows how to run a sports organization.

    In the end, the problem with recycling or sticking to MLS people only is like inbreeding. You can only take the gene pool so far until you run into problems.


  20. C. Says:

    How come there hasn’t been one mention of Miller being signed on the team website? Our front office is the absolute WORST in terms of just getting GENERAL news out about the team.

  21. Cindy Says:

    best of luck to him and here’s hoping for success all around!

  22. Processor Benchmark Says:

    Good luck to him!

    The headline, really, should have read: “Red Bulls Given Hans Job!”

  23. Karbaz Says:

    Cmon guys 13’s the charm right?…..

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