Red Bulls Weekly Update: January 31

Red Bulls begin to fill out roster ahead of first preseason trip

group excited

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RED BULLS SIGN ACADEMY DEFENDER SACIR HOT: Red Bull New York announced Monday the signing of Red Bulls Academy product Sacir Hot. The 19-year old defender becomes the fourth player to be signed under Major League Soccer’s Home Grown Player Rule by New York, joining fellow Academy graduates Juan Agudelo, Giorgi Chirgadze and Matt Kassel.

“Sacir has shown that he has the potential to be a very successful professional soccer player,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “He has a bright future ahead of him and we are excited to sign him as our fourth Home Grown Player.”

In 2010, Hot earned his first cap for the United States’ Under-20 team in July at the Milk Cup, coming on as a substitute in the Americans’ 3-0 victory in the title game over host Northern Ireland. Hot, a native of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, played two seasons at Boston College.  He was named a NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region Second Team selection in 2010 as a sophomore. In two seasons, he appeared in 29 matches for the Eagles. The 6-1, 190 pound defender played for the Under-16 and Under-18 Red Bulls, and served as captain for both sides. Earlier this month, Hot spent time on trial at German Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.

RED BULLS TO TAKE ON MEXICO’S ATLAS IN PHOENIX: The Red Bulls will face Mexico's Club Atlas de Guadalajara in a friendly on Tuesday, March 8 in a game called Red Bull Reto del Sol, or “Challenge of the Sun.”  The game will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium, located in Glendale, AZ.  Doors open 6:30 p.m. local time and game time is slated for 8:00 p.m.  More information is available at www.redbullusa.com/retodelsol .

The Red Bull Reto del Sol match is especially notable as it will bring Designated Player and Mexican National Team standout Rafa Márquez up against the club where he first got his professional start. He made his debut with Atlas in 1996, appearing in 77 matches over three years for the club before leaving in 1999.  Márquez spent the last seven seasons with storied Catalan side, FC Barcelona, and was part of the 2008-09 squad that won an unprecedented six championships.  He has appeared in 10 regular-season games and both postseason matches for the Red Bulls, and this year will mark his first full season with the club. 

“We are excited to wrap up the preseason with a match against Atlas," stated Red Bull New York General Manager Erik Solér. "Atlas is one of the top teams in Mexico and we are looking forward to play at the University of Phoenix Stadium again.  This will be a good match for us as we prepare for the start of the MLS regular season.”

Tickets for the Red Bulls Reto del Sol match go on sale on Monday, February 7, 2011 and begin as low $15 dollars. Ticket can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at usual tienda locations in the Phoenix area and at the University of Phoenix Stadium box office in person or via phone at (602) 379-0102.  For additional information please log on to www.universityofphoenixstadium.com .

RED BULLS 2011 ROSTER QUICK FACTS:
Longest tenured player: Carlos Mendes (2005-present, 128 appearances, 112 starts)
Players with senior international experience: 12

- Juan Agudelo, United States (2 caps)
- Chris Albright, United States (21 caps)
- Bouna Coundoul, Senegal (4 caps)
- Thierry Henry, France (123 caps) (retired)
- Joel Lindpere, Estonia (74 caps)
- Rafa Márquez, Mexico (98 caps)
- Roy Miller, Costa Rica (20 caps)
- Tim Ream, United States (2 caps)
- Dane Richards, Jamaica (25 caps)
- Carl Robinson, Wales (52 caps) (retired)
- Jan Gunnar Solli, Norway (40 caps)
- Greg Sutton, Canada (16 caps)

Countries represented: 17

- 9 from United States
- 2 from England
- 1 each from Norway, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, France, Ghana, Georgia, Estonia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Denmark, Jamaica, Wales, Canada, Cameroon

Oldest player: Greg Sutton (33 years, 287 days)
Youngest player: Juan Agudelo (18 years, 69 days)

RED BULLS ANNOUNCE PRESEASON SCHEDULE:
The Red Bulls announced their preseason schedule for the upcoming 2011 MLS season. The two-month preseason includes stops in Cancun, Mexico, Guadalajara, Mexico, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Casa Grande, AZ. New York’s tour includes a match against Mexican powerhouse Chivas de Guadalajara on Feb. 15 at Omnilife Stadium.

On Feb. 4, New York will depart for Cancun, Mexico. From Cancun, the Red Bulls will travel to Guadalajara on Feb. 14 for a match on Feb. 15 against legendary club Chivas de Guadalajara with kickoff set for 8:00 PM local time. The Red Bulls last faced Chivas in a friendly in Phoenix, AZ on June 25, 2008, a 1-0 decision for New York. 

The Red Bulls will return home from Mexico for a short stay before departing for Fort Lauderdale, FL on Feb. 21. The Red Bulls’ first team and reserves will face the Chicago Fire on Feb. 23, and the first team will square off against NASL side Miami FC on Feb. 26.

In March, New York will depart for Casa Grande, AZ on March 3. The first team will play fellow MLS sides Sporting Kansas City on March 4 and FC Dallas on March 7. The Red Bulls reserves will play Sporting Kansas City’s reserves on March 5 and FC Dallas’ reserves on March 7.

The team is expected to return to training at Montclair State University on March 14, leading up to the opening of the 2011 MLS season on Saturday March 19, when New York hosts Seattle Sounders FC at Red Bull Arena.

2011 Red Bulls Preseason Schedule (Times/Dates Subject to Change)
Feb. 4: Depart for Cancun, Mexico
Feb. 14: Depart for Guadalajara, Mexico
Feb. 15: Red Bulls vs. Chivas de Guadalajara at Omnilife Stadium
Feb. 16: Return to NY/NJ area
Feb. 21: Depart for Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Feb. 23: Red Bulls First Team/Reserves vs. Chicago Fire First Team/Reserves
Feb. 26: Red Bulls vs. Miami FC
Feb. 27: Return to NY/NJ area
March 3: Travel to Phoenix, AZ
March 4: Red Bulls First Team vs. Sporting Kansas City First Team
March 5: Red Bulls Reserves vs. Sporting Kansas City Reserves
March 7: Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas
March 8: Red Bulls vs. Atlas at University of Phoenix Stadium at 10:00 PM ET
March 11: Team Returns to NY/NJ area.
March 19: Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC at Red Bull Arena at 7:30 PM (MLS Season Kickoff)

RED BULLS INK ENGLISH FORWARD LUKE RODGERS: Red Bull New York announced the signing of English forward Luke Rodgers. Rodgers will join the team’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“Our head coach Hans knows Luke very well from his days coaching at Notts County and we believe he will immediately compete for a starting position,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “He has a very good work ethic and provides pace and strength to our front line.”

Rodgers, 29, comes to New York after spending his entire professional career in England. Most recently, Rodgers played for Notts County, where he played under current Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe, and helped the team gain promotion to League One (English third division) by capturing the League Two (fourth division) championship in the 2009-10 season. In his time with Notts County, Rodgers appeared in 46 games and scored 13 goals.

Prior to joining Notts County, Rodgers was a member of Yeovil Town of League One, where he signed in Jan. 2009 after being loaned there in Nov. 2008 from League Two side Port Vale. Rodgers played a total of 22 matches for Yeovil Town, scoring three goals. During his years at Port Vale beginning in 2007, Rodgers made 59 appearances and notched 16 goals. During the 2007-2008 season in which Port Vale competed in League One, Rodgers had nine goals in 36 games.

Rodgers played at League One side Crewe Alexandra from 2005-2007, where he tallied nine goals in 38 appearances. He began his career with a lengthy tenure at fourth-division side Shrewsbury Town. During a six year career at the club, Rodgers played in 179 matches in all competitions, and scored 79 goals. He had over 20 goals in consecutive seasons from 2001-2003, and helped the team regain fourth division status in 2003-04, as the club won the Conference National Playoff.

RED BULLS SIGN ACADEMY PRODUCT MATT KASSEL: Red Bull New York announced the signing of Red Bull Academy product and University of Maryland midfielder Matt Kassel. Kassel, a Bridgewater, NJ native, becomes the third player from the Red Bull Academy to sign with the first team, joining current New York forwards Juan Agudelo and Giorgi Chirgadze.

“We believe that Matt has matured during his three years in college and has the potential to be a solid player for us,” said Red Bull New York Managing Director Erik Soler. “We are thrilled that we have come to an agreement with him and are pleased to add another former member of our academy.”

Kassel spent the past three years playing at the University of Maryland under Head Coach Sasho Cirovski. In his three years as a Terrapin, Kassel became one of the school’s top players, earning honors as an All-ACC First Team selection for the 2010 season. Kassel was also selected to the ACC All-Tournament Team. He started all 23 games for the Terps in 2010, and scored nine goals while leading the team with 11 assists.

As a sophomore in 2009, Kassel started all but one game for the Terps. His six assists led the team, and he added a goal in a four point effort versus Duquesne on Sept. 15. In his first year, Kassel was named the National Rookie of the Year by TopDrawerSoccer.com, and was named as an ACC All-Freshman Team selection. He scored one goal and ranked second on the team with seven assists while starting 19 games.

Prior to playing at the University of Maryland, Kassel was in the Red Bulls Academy, where he was a two-time Academy Player of the Year. His successes as a Red Bulls Academy member catapulted him as one of the top high school players in the country, as he scored 110 goals in four years at Bridgewater-Raritan High School. After his senior year, he was ranked as the No. 9 recruit in the nation by ESPN RISE Magazine, and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Jersey in 2007-08. Prior to his time at Maryland, Kassel also spent time with the United States Under-15 and Under-18 teams.

OPENING DAY PACKS AND GROUP TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Opening Day packs and group tickets for the 2011 New York Red Bulls first MLS game of the season at Red Bull Arena against the Seattle Sounders FC on March 19 are on sale now. Fans can purchase Opening Day packs, which include four tickets to the game and a Red Bulls fleece blanket, starting as low as $96. In addition, you may also start purchasing discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more starting as low as $20 per seat. Fans with larger groups may be eligible for further discounts and can call the Red Bulls Group Sales Department. To buy tickets or for more information, call 1.877.RBSOCCER (1.877.727.6223) or TTY/Hearing Impaired line: 973.482.9060 or log onto www.newyorkredbulls.com.