NewYorkRedBulls.com Correspondent Craig Hutchinson continues his regular column on RedBullsReader.com today with a look at today’s Thierry Henry press conference and the impact the French international could have on the team and MLS.  If you have a question or comment for Craig, share your thoughts in the comments section.

Moving to New York was a “no brainer” for the French star.  After months of rumor and speculation, and just one day after the announcement was made official, the New York Red Bulls finally introduced their new Designated Player, Thierry Henry.  Media from around the world descended on the team’s recently opened state of the art stadium, Red Bull Arena, and saw him step out onto the pitch for the first time to receive his customary #14 shirt from Red Bull Global Soccer chief Dietmar Beiersdorfer, his new Sporting Director Erik Soler, head coach Hans Backe and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The five-some then headed inside to talk all things Henry.

Each one addressed the media with statements one-by-one and the general message remained the same; Henry loves New York, he is committed to winning trophies for the club, and it’s a great move for American soccer and the MLS. Backe, speaking before Henry in the press conference, stressed that Thierry still has the hunger and desire to win. Henry used words like “commitment” and “competitiveness” to emphasis the fact that it is not an extended vacation for him, but merely the next chapter in a career that has been associated with excellence and winning.

But why New York? Couldn’t Thierry’s competitive juices be just as well served by staying in Europe?

Henry admitted that after Barcelona, he was always going to move to the MLS. He cited Claudio Reyna, Youri Djorkaeff, Freddy Ljungberg and Steve Nash as those he confided in about moving to the Red Bulls, and all give him glowing reports (evidently power-player meetings in soccer work out better for New York than in the NBA). Eventually, it became clear to him that; “coming to New York was the only option for me”. So much so, he admitted telling his handlers; “if anyone else comes after me, I don’t even want to hear about it”. To Henry, it had been in his mind for four or five months that he would join New York, which was presumably when Barcelona had begun to give the MLS club permission to begin negotiations with the player who was still under contract until 2011. Indeed, Barcelona received glowing praise from it’s ex-player, as well as the Red Bull top brass present, for their handling of the transfer.

So what does the future hold in store for the New York Red Bulls and their new superstar?

In the immediate future, Henry will meet his new teammates when he reports for training for the first time on Friday morning and will travel to Columbus this weekend, despite the fact that he is not scheduled to make his debut until next Thursday when New York plays Tottenham Hotspur (sweet, sweet irony) in the Barclays New York Challenge. Henry admitted in a private interview that he has not yet discussed with Hans what his role on the field will be and how it fit’s into the team’s tactics, but coach Backe did insist that he’s sees Henry very much as a striker and that is how he will be utilized, presumably, alongside the Red Bulls’ captain and all-time leading scorer, Juan Pablo Angel.

And for the long term? The Red Bulls are currently within striking distance of first place in the East and adding the firepower of Henry will greatly aid their quest for a first MLS title. There are also tantalizing rumors of another star player joining the team.

In the press conference Henry admitted that the perception of the MLS is changing in Europe and many players (“I’m not going to name names” he teased) have expressed interest about joining him in the US. If one of those players were to join him in New York during the transfer window, MLS commissioner Don Garber would surely be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of a New York vs. Los Angeles star-studded championship.

For all the blessings that come with being a New York sports franchise, there is always the competition of nine other major sports franchises competing with you for the fan’s entertainment dollar. There’s no denying that there are thousands upon thousands of soccer fans residing in the Metro area who have previously had little interest in attending a MLS game. Will the attraction of a certain Frenchman attract them to jump on the PATH train to check one out in person? And will the experience be enough to keep them coming back?

If winning is the #1 reason to sign Thierry Henry, then increased attendance and further globalization of the team and it’s brand is obviously reason #1B.

With the excitement surrounding the team right now and the conviction in Thierry’s words at the presser – the New York Red Bulls may very well get both.


  1. Tim F. Says:

    This coverage of today’s events has been excellent.

    Please use the third DP slot on a center midfielder that can serve as a playmaker for Henry and Angel even if the 3rd DP doesn’t have name recognition (yet). If the team wins, the club and players will attract attention and fans.

    Please DO NOT bring on Freddy Ljungberg. We want a team player and not someone who is not trying for the club he currently plays for because he doesn’t like the way it is working out. I don’t know whether it is true or not, but Freddy doesn’t have a good “locker room” reputation in news reports.

  2. bryan Says:

    Freddy Ljungberg might be a club house problem in seattle where he is the only man with international clout on that team and keller does not count he is a goalie. but trust me if he comes to the red bulls henry and angel will put him in his place quick if he acts up… the big thing needs to be does angel and henry get along cause those two need to because if there starts to be a rift between them then we have problems.. but i doubt that will happen both have been saying the right things…

  3. Rohan Says:

    Freddy would be good for the Red Bulls as Ljungburg and Henry played on the same team for 5-6 years at Arsenal winning 10 titles along the way so you know they can work together. But there are better players who would be willing to come to MLS better than Freddy would be Brazils Gilberto Silva or Robert Pieres

    • alex Says:

      no freddie. they said the players in question are not currently in the mls and pires is going to birmigham

  4. Alle Says:

    What a legend, can’t wait for next Thursday!!! As for the last DP slot, anybody but Giggs please.

  5. emilio Says:

    Any word on who was cut to add Henry to the roster? Wolyniec, Boyens?

    • alex Says:

      no one is gonna get cut. they have the right amount of players now but if they add the 3rd dp then they will have to cut

      • emilio Says:

        No they dont have the right amount of players, the roster is 24 plus the two homegrown players so thats 26, Nielsen and Goldthwaite are on injured reserve so it put the team at 29 players, one has to be cut.

      • alex Says:

        on my last (really big comment) i posted a link to a podcast. Listen to it and they explain why no one has to be cut. only when the third dp is added will someone get cut. if i am correct a team consists of a 23 man squad and a 6 man reserve which makes it 29. as long as FIFA 2010 is right then that should be ok lol

      • alex Says:

        you were right about the 24 man roster and instead of 23 its 17 + 6 but i think that may just be for europe.

      • emilio Says:

        Each European country has different roster rules, most leagues have a maximum of 25 players on the senior side and you can call up players from your youth side, MLS roster rules have no relation to European roster rules. There is no “unified european leagues” roster guidelines, it varies by league.

  6. the kid Says:

    word around msu is woly was MIA at training today. he seemed to be on borrowed time the whole year and since the two play the same position he would be the logical cut…

    • alex Says:

      hes not getting cut. the redbulls dont need to cut until they bring in a 3rd dp. right now they are fine with the amount of players

      • emilio Says:

        One player has to be cut.

      • alex Says:

        like i said with the addition of Henry it puts the Red Bulls at their max amount of players. As of right now they are fine. Trust me I have no life and follow this shit all day. 😛

      • emilio Says:

        The roster is now 24 players plus two homegrown. So a total of 26, 24 plus Agudelo and Chirgadze, we have 29 players on the roster now and two are on injured reserve Goldthwaite and Nielsen, we wont have to cut a player if one is added to injured reserve but if we dont add a player to the IR we will have to release a player. Just look at the roster 29 players. We have to cut one and when Nielsen comes off IR we have to cut another and with each subsequent signing another player has to be released.

  7. alex Says:

    I feel like I am the only one that has no life here and reads every article on the red bull site and then some (and that’s a big SOME). I blame the economy for not giving me anything to do at work 😛 Rough times…

    let me sum this up to put an end to some of the players in question…

    Ronaldihno- Great player and obviously would be a great add but sorry folks, he going to his home club Flamengo.

    Pires- Would be excellent add in midfield but he has decided that he has 2 seasons left in his 36 year old legs and they are going to Birmingham.

    Vieira- Another excellent potential add and we will be seeing him!……. but playing for man city :\ He has decided to stick with Manchester City for an extra year and then he will be 37 and most likely calling it quits. Even if he doesn’t as much as i respect him, his career will be long behind him.

    Marquez- Another player that would be an amazing add. although a bad rep among Americans, he would fill that stadium up with all the Mexican fans in the area. (might have to go back to the meadowlands :P) However although an excellent player he is not that midfielder that we need. Yes he can move the ball up field accurately but the NYRB need an attacking mid.

    Ljunberg- Personally I think this would be a bad add but who am I to judge. He can’t play for Seattle and is getting to that point in life were retirement is a serious consideration even for MLS. unless the NYRB can get him as a regular player and not a DP than i don’t think he is worth the money at all.

    Now if the NYRB could get Ljunberg at a lower salary and then Marquez then i think the title would be guaranteed. Somehow i think that he will not just take a lower salary like that. As for Silva I haven’t spent anytime browsing his name but I’ll throw in my 2 cents when i get the chance.

    One more thing I’d like to add, if you are at work and want something interesting to listen to ( http://www.seeingredny.com/2010/07/episode-19-rbny-0-0-dcu-french-agent.html ) Gave em a listen yesterday for the first time and they are interesting guys with a lot to say and their guests although i believe they are usually fans but sometimes players, are surprisingly interesting as well. Cheers!

  8. emilio Says:

    Mls roster limit is 24 plus two homegrown. So a maximum of 26 on the active roster.

  9. Billy S. Says:

    is it just me or has Brian Nielsan showed a small flair of briliance and after that just been injured. . . remeber wen they got him instead of a out of contract and currently without a team Dave Van den bergh, he would be pouring his heart out for the club if he was back here, but noooo we got a fkn bench warmer injury plagued Brian Nielsan. . .

    • emilio Says:

      He isnt a bench warmer he is a player who has been injured so hasnt been able to play. He is young and talented you cant predict he would be injured.

  10. Starks in Tampa Says:

    I found this on a different site, for all of you new redbull fans take a look. It is a great thread…for all of us who have been supporting MetroStars now Redbull since Day 1, this was funny and sad at the same time… enjoy


  11. Starks in Tampa Says:

    Also I found this on another site as well…Thierry Henry chant/song, very nice.

    ‘We bought him from the Catalans, Henry, Henry,
    Not quite what he used to be, says YOU, not me,
    A Red Bulls legend he’s gonna be, He’ll score some goals, just wait and see!
    Thierry Henry, Red Bulls big 14’

  12. bryan Says:

    its going to be pele!!! lol…

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