Roxburgh explains timing, reasoning behind Petke’s extension

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Talks of a contract extension for New York Red Bull head coach Mike Petke date back to late last year. Still, after winning the Supporters’ Shield and surpassing expectations as a rookie boss, the club did not come to an agreement until they were a week into the current season.

Was there some hesitation on the part of Red Bull brass to reward the coach with some security? Not according to Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. In his words, it was a simply the “evolution of the process.”

“We had Mike in contract,” he explained. “We picked up his option at the end of the year, which wasn’t even a discussion. We then decided it would be a good idea from Mikes point of view — and also for us — which is when we proceeded to the next step.”

That evolution became an upward remodeling of his current contract.

“It takes time to put it together,” he said. “It’s not a matter of being delayed or late — it could have been done in three months, four months from now. We just decided to do it … We thought it was an appropriate time.”

While team policy prohibited Roxburgh from offering any specifics, he did give clues about the new deal. For starters, he indicated that it was “more than a one-year contract with an option.”

“This is all about commitment,” he says. “First and foremost, you all know Mike’s commitment to the club, both as a player and as a technician. He’s dedicated to this club and clearly wants it to be very successful, but also, of course, he needed some kind of security around him and we tried to provide that with a multi-year contract that we agreed with him.”

Roxburgh would add that the club wanted Petke “to be comfortable” with his deal while showing a commitment to the coach — perhaps a clue that the young coach is also set for a bump in pay.

“It’s an extension and improvement on what he had,” he explains.

“It provides more stability — that’s the key point. It’s an improved contract. Our policy is not to discuss details, and that has to remain the case, but it’s enough to say it’s an advancement on the contract he had previously, which is good for both the club and for Mike.”

The stability isn’t just a one-way street. Roxburgh mentioned on numerous occasions his desire to build continuity and stability in the technical staff as well.

“The success of last year naturally had an influence … We are in a results business,” Roxburgh acknowledged. “Mike is very passionate. He was passionate as a player and as a coach. He wears his heart on his sleeve sometimes. That passion and commitment is very important. It’s also about development. He only had the one year and it was a successful year and he’s dedicated to developing himself as a coach, and we’re trying to give him the absolute maximum support we possibly can to push him along that track.

“As you know, when it comes to learning and development, its a life long job,” he concludes. “Mike is a young, developing guy and we want to support him.”