He may not like the monicker, but Mike Petke is quickly settling in to his role as “The Boss.” Not to say that has been easy, of course …
With just over a week since his official signing with the club, the longtime Red Bull and former Metrostar defender is taken aback by the wide array of responsibilities he has inherited as a coach – both big and small.
“Something I have been around for so long as a player and even as a coaching staff the last two years, I always noticed and seen – but doesn’t hit you until it becomes reality – is every little decision,” Petke recounted. “As far as where the players meals are today, we are traveling on the plane, what do they have to wear? We have to sit down and talk about every flight we are taking this year. Are we leaving two days before a West Coast trip? One day before a West Coast trips? What time do you want to get there?
“The next thing you know, you’ve had two practices, you’ve got twelve meetings and you go and plan for the next day.”
Luckily, the team’s quickly morphing technical staff and roster pool has helped ease an otherwise unexpected new world for the young manager.
“On the field wise, it’s been really a smooth transition, especially with having a staff around, Robin (Fraser) coming in,” Petke reveals.
The first week of training has mostly consisted of fitness drills. Those will be put to the test shortly as the Red Bulls prepare to face off against the Columbus Crew early Friday morning in Bradenton, Florida.
It will be the first scrimmage encounter for the team this preseason.
According to Petke, the team has looked surprisingly well on the physical side of things, prompting him to begin tactical work a bit earlier than expected. While the team sets out to continue their identity search, he acknowledges a tough road still lies ahead.
“Everybody is in a good spot right now,” he said. “Of course I realize the honor of becoming the coach … in some point along this year or many points, I am going to be liked by some and not liked by others.
“All players go through that,” he continued. “You wind up on the bench, you know that player is not going to like you. They get wind of trade talks, that player is not going to like you. He is starting and the player is doing good, the player is going to love you.
“I understand and respect that,” he said. “Right now, everyone knows where they stand. Moving forward, that’s a great starting point.”
Despite the hustle and bustle of a modern day coach, the role is already growing on the Red Bulls rookie manager. “There is something exciting about that,” he said. “I love it. I really enjoy that.”