Mar 12, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
You can take the man out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the man… Or something like that.
Luckily for the New York Red Bulls, they don’t have to worry about either, as talented head coach Mike Petke is sticking around with his hometown club after agreeing a new contract at Red Bull Arena.
Petke, 38, won the 2013 Supporters’ Shield in his rookie season as an MLS coach, as he delivered a maiden piece of silverware for one of Major League Soccer’s original franchises. Petke played for the Red Bulls and holds the record for all-time appearances, 196, and his efforts as a first-year coach saw him pick up the 2013 MLS Coach of the Year award.
Talking about the deal which secures his future with RBNY, and gives us a chance to see much more of his sensational sweater vest collection, Petke is delighted to sign a new contract.
“I am pleased to reach a new deal with my hometown club,” Petke said. “We have enjoyed success during my short time as head coach and all of the credit goes to our players, staff and most importantly, our supporters. While winning the Supporters’ Shield was a major achievement for our club last year, my overall goal of building a team with a long-term identity that our fans can be proud of remains unchanged. I look forward to continuing this mission in the 2014 season and beyond.”
The start to the 2014 MLS season hasn’t exactly been ideal for the Red Bulls, after a crushing 4-1 loss away at Vancouver on opening weekend last Saturday. But Petke is keen to build on a successful start to his coaching career by leading New York into a new era of success to fill the previous years of disappointment. One of the most iconic memories from the 2013 MLS season was seeing Petke struggling to hold off tears as the Red Bulls faithful chanted his name after New York sealed their first-ever Supporters’ Shield with a big victory over Chicago Fire at the end of the 2013 season.
With Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave ready to return to the lineup for the home opener against Colorado this Saturday, Petke will get the chance to show off New York’s shield to the home fans and get the 2014 MLS season back on track after a hiccup in Vancouver to open up.
Petke deserves this contract, and as one of the brightest young coaches in MLS has been rewarded for building a successful team in one of the league’s most under-achieving markets.
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