For years, the New York Red Bulls have called Montclair University home for their midweek training sessions. While the college has provided an acceptable grounds, the organization has long had their eyes on a patch of land in Hanover to eventually take that spot.
Red Bulls General Manager Jerome de Bontin says it won’t be long now. de Bontin, a guest on last week’s Seeing Red!, told the hosts he expects the club to commence training on the facility by May of this year.
“It’s almost over. The construction is almost over,” he revealed. “Right now the expectation is that by May, we should have the first team practice exclusively at this facility.”
The original plan for the development was an ambitious $20 million project that included an office/headquarters facility and parcels of shared land that would be managed by the township’s Recreations Department. What Red Bull actually walked away with was an $8-10 million project including three soccer fields (one with artificial turf, and an unidentified field with bleacher seating for up to 350 people).
Town Mayor Ronald Francioli spoke to the Hanover Eagle regarding the usage of the land and how it will also be the home of the team’s Academy program. “These are the team’s fields,” Francioli said. “They won’t be for us. However, the Red Bulls have a Red Bulls Academy and those accepted into it will play on the fields.”
“I don’t want to say it is state of the art,” de Bontin said. “It’s not as big as we would have liked, but it really is a fantastic place.
“There has been a major investment in excess of $10 million in trying to get a facility that resembles what we have the right to expect of a team of our caliber.”
de Bontin went on to call it “probably one of the best, if not the best (practice facilities) they will see amongst MLS teams.”
The team plans on practicing at Montclair until the project is ready to go.
RED BULL ARENA
While the training facility continues it’s construction process, Red Bull Arena prepares for the 2013 season. After a spat of terrible weather and flooding in the area, then Coach Hans Backe grew critical of the RBA pitch calling it the “worst” in Major League Soccer.
de Bontin revealed that a design flaw in the stadium allows for only a few critical hours of sunlight on one side of the pitch, greatly effecting the quality of the field. Aware of the issue, the club is taking steps to address the problem.
“We need to preserve the pitch (at RBA),” de Bontin said. “We made some serious investment at the end of the season.”
The team is currently replacing the grass with a new field in preparation for the 2013 season opener against DC United on March 16th.
For this and more on the Red Bulls situation, check out this Pre-Petke episode of Seeing Red! (links below):
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