Grella Follows ‘Destiny’ from NYCFC to Red Bulls

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RUSS McKENZIE

NEW YORK CITY – Before becoming a Supporters’ Shield winner with the New York Red Bulls, Mike Grella’s career was in danger – and New York City FC were there to help

Prior to being signed on a one year contract in 2015, Grella had trial opportunities with both NYCFC and the New York Cosmos. Having no luck sticking with either of the other clubs, Grella accepted an offer to train with the Red Bulls, also on a trial basis. That led to the Glen Cove native having a career year in 2015.

Since then, Grella has been signed to an extension, ending his nomadic travels through the professional football world.

Grella looks back on his days leading up to joining the Red Bulls as a path to destiny.

“I look back on my entire career and look at the contracts I made or certain moves I made and wish I hadn’t or had,” he said. “I’m very grateful for the journey I’ve been on, and I’m very grateful that I’m with the New York Red Bulls. I’m just a big believer in destiny. I’m just living it out.”

When City came to call, Grella had begun to move on from soccer. Jason Kreis fingered the wayward midfielder as a possible reclamation project.

While Grella didn’t remain with the club NYCFC, they played a major role in his rehabilitation and re-entry into playing soccer professionally.

“I didn’t want to play anymore, I had sort of gotten passed it,” Grella admits. “Having the opportunity to train with NYCFC, I got back into shape, and fell back in love with the game. I probably lost 10-15lbs playing with them. It really got me going again, and really sharp, oddly enough, for Red Bulls preseason.”

Grella’s work rate and shifty footwork earned him a place close to the hearts of the Red Bulls faithful. The seminal moment of 2015 came against the Philadelphia Union, where he scored the fasted goal in MLS history, a record that once was held by another Red Bull, Tim Cahill.

Going into Saturday’s Hudson River Derby, the matchup with NYCFC holds a special place in Grella’s heart – and not because of the rejection.

“It just means more to me because I really feel part of the Red Bull family and I’m honored to play for this team, and put the shirt on. A big rivalry like that, I just want to give everything I have. It means so much to me.”