Tainio Keel article

Red Bulls sign Teemu Tainio and Stephen Keel

Red Bull New York announced today the signings of Finnish international midfielder/defender Teemu Tainio and defender Stephen Keel. Tainio will be added to the team’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC). Keel spent significant time in the USL First Division and a short stint in MLS since beginning his professional career in 2005.

"The club is thrilled about adding a player of Teemu's class," said Red Bull New York Sporting Director Erik Soler. "He is a versatile player with a vast amount of experience and we are confident that he will fit right in with the team and become a valuable contributor immediately."

In regards to Keel, Soler said, “We are excited to sign Stephen and have him officially join our club. He has impressed us in training and in our preseason matches and will provide depth to our back line.”

Tainio, 31, joins the Red Bulls from Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam, which he joined at the beginning of the 2010 season, appearing in two matches. Prior to signing with Ajax, Tainio, who has played in most midfield positions and in defense, spent five years playing in the English Premier League, splitting his time between three teams – Birmingham City, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur. Tainio spent two years at Sunderland, which included 21 appearances in the 2008-09 season and six appearances while on loan with Birmingham from 2009-10.  Playing at Tottenham from 2005-08, Tainio featured in 61 matches, scoring three goals and winning the Football League Cup in his final year at White Hart Lane.


Tainio began his professional career at the age of 14, when he was promoted to the senior team of TP-47 in Finland’s third division, after which he quickly moved to FC Haka in the Veikkausliiga, Finland’s premier division. Scoring four goals in 20 appearances and winning the Finnish Cup in 1997, he then moved to Ligue 1 club AJ Auxerre, where he spent eight years and won the Coupe de France twice, playing in 150 matches and scoring 14 goals.

Making his international debut at just 18 years old on Feb. 5, 1998, Tainio has gone on to earn 51 caps for his country and tallied six goals.

Keel, 27, joins the Red Bulls after a month-long trial this preseason.  He last played in the USL First Division for the Portland Timbers, which were replaced this year by the expansion MLS franchise of the same name, where he won the USL First Division Commissioner’s Cup in 2009.

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Keel spent five years in the Colorado Rapids’ system, playing with the Seattle Sounders in the USL First Division on loan in 2006 and appearing in 36 matches with Colorado’s back-to-back MLS Reserve Division champion reserve team from 2007-09.  He made six appearances with the Rapids’ first team while with the club before being waived in March 2009, when he signed with Portland.

Prior to his professional career, Keel played with the Bradenton Academics of the USL Premier Development League.  During a four-year collegiate career at Wake Forest, Keel was a forward and posted career totals of 13 goals and nine assists.

#2 Teemu Tainio
TEH-moo TAI-nee-oh
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-9
Weight: 157
Day of Birth: November 27, 1979
Hometown: Tornio, Finland
Previous Professional Club: Ajax Amsterdam (Dutch Eredivisie)
Status: International
How Acquired: Signed on March 9, 2011.

#22 Stephen Keel
Position: Defender
Height: 6-0
Weight: 175
Day of Birth: April 11, 1983
Hometown: Littleton, Colorado
Previous Professional Club: Portland Timbers (USL-1)
How Acquired: Signed on March 9, 2011