At the front office of Mike Petke’s New York Red Bulls, a couple of players were signed to new contracts in defender Roy Miller and goalkeeper Luis Robles. As per club and league regulations, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“With one of our goals being to create long-term continuity within our roster, we are very pleased to have signed Roy and Luis to new contracts,” said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh to reporters yesterday. “Both players were important players for our team in 2013, and we are happy to keep them in New York.
“Roy has shown that he is a very capable left fullback, exhibiting top-level defending and attacking qualities. He is also a hard-working professional and a very good character to have around the club. We are pleased to come to terms with him on a new contract.
“Luis demonstrated to us and the rest of the league that he was one of the top goalkeepers in Major League Soccer in 2013. His consistency for us last season was vital in helping our club win the MLS Supporters’ Shield, and we are pleased to reward him with a new contract.”
Miller has been with New York since Jan. 20 after coming from Norwegian Tippeligaen side Rosenborg. He made 17 appearances last season but was sidelined due to an Achilles injury. Miller made 96 appearances and 87 starts for New York. As for Robles, he was a fixture in goal for the Red Bulls, with 11 shutouts and a 1.21 goals against average. He was tied for wins (17), third in saves (103) and fourth in shutouts.
Another player that will be coming back is Andre Akpan, who spent time with the New York Red Bulls Reserves. Akpan has an intention to score more goals and earn more playing time for the defending Supporters’ Shield holders.
“That was a big reason why I wanted to come back,” Akpan, 26, told MLSsoccer.com’s Franco Panizo. “We’re going to have more games because of [CONCACAF] Champions League, obviously [Thierry] Henry is getting another year older, and it’s Mike’s second year and he’s going to be a little more comfortable with how he rotates the squad.
“Absolutely, it’s a big transition to go and just try to start fresh with another team, and I think that having a full preseason with this team will help me a lot and will help me really kind of establish myself.
“Right away they told me that they wanted me back, and I wanted to be back, so with me out of contract it was just a matter of us coming to an agreement on something. Obviously, that process takes a little while, and I’m glad we got it sorted out.”
As for Petke, he and Roxburgh were in England to do some studying as to how the top managers did their work. Specifically, Petke will be meeting with Jose Mourinho of Chelsea and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger. In addition to meeting with Mourinho and Wenger, Petke and Roxburgh are set to discuss other matters with Thierry Henry and Red Bulls head of global soccer, Gerard Houller.
“I’m very, very much looking forward to it, and let’s be realistic here, I have no thoughts of delusions of grandeur that in four days I’m going to come back and be a world-class coach and be a whole new different person; not at all,” Petke told reporters via conference call to Panizo. “This is something to get over there, and if I could grab one thing from all three coaches or one thing total that’s going to make me a better coach coming back here, it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
“It’s all part of refreshing our ideas, refreshing our thoughts. Not to copy anybody, but to stimulate our thoughts in training and methods and so on,” Roxburgh added. “I’ve worked a lot with Jose Mourinho and Andre, [they] were both trained in Scotland as coaches, and Arsene has worked with me in Scotland as well, so the Scottish connection is there.
“They’ve all worked with me at the Champions League meetings we’ve had with UEFA. Mike’s looking forward to us doing that, and it’ll be an interesting exercise for us.”