In an offseason defined by turnover, one mainstay has been greatly rewarded.
The New York Red Bulls have officially announced Mike Petke as the team’s long awaited Head Coach.
“Mike is very passionate about our club and has shown us that he has the leadership and organizational qualities to be our head coach,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. “He is a terrific servant for this club, from being a top player to most recently heading our reserve squad.
“Mike has earned this opportunity and he will have the full support of our staff to help ensure the team’s success. We believe that his experience both as a player and coach in American soccer will be a significant asset as we head into the 2013 season.”
Petke was originally drafted by the team in 1998. The former three time MLS All-Star became a cult figure amongst the fans and a locker room leader with the club. After leaving New York for Colorado and DC United, the Long Island native returned to home at the end of 2008 and retired a Red Bull in 2010. Since then, he has played the assistants role under former Coach Hans Backe and now finds himself at the helm of the organization that started his professional career.
“Ever since I joined New York in 1998, this is the club that has always been closest to my heart. I am thrilled to have earned this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is truly a dream come true,” Petke said. “I know there is a lot of work ahead and our challenge is not easy. However, I am excited to take hold of my new responsibility and hopeful that I can help build a hard-working team that our club’s loyal supporters can all be proud of.”
Few can match Petke’s passion. In a recent interview, the beloved Red Bull figure spoke glowingly about his love for the club. “I’ve said it over the years and you guys know me well enough to know how true it is; this is where I want to be … New York,” he said. “I have proven to myself as well as the people around me that I put winning, Red Bulls winning a Championship, far above myself, far above money.
“For me right now in this moment, to have some sort of role is phenomenal,” he continued. “My hometown club. It’s the club I started with, and at least I can say if I died tomorrow, I was the head coach for a little bit.”
A little bit just became a lot more permanent.
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