Red Bulls assistant coach Denis Hamlett will succeed Al Curtis as the team’s sporting director. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
The other shoe dropped Tuesday morning as Denis Hamlett was named Red Bulls sporting director.
Hamlett, formerly the team’s assistant coach, will replace Ali Curtis, who lost a power struggle with head coach Jesse Marsch.
The 48-year-old Hamlett had been the de facto sporting director this past winter since January.
Born in Costa Rica, Hamlett will oversee the Red Bulls sporting operations. That includes player acquisitions, scouting staff and support staff and the soccer operations budget.
Hamlett also will be in charge of Red Bulls II, the club’s Under-23 team and Red Bulls Academy.
“Denis has vast experience in Major League Soccer and an excellent understanding of our global philosophy,” Red Bulls head of global soccer Oliver Mintzlaff said in a statement. “We are confident that Denis has the vision to further our goal of winning MLS Cup.”
There were no statements by Marsch or Hamlett made available to the media.
Marsch and Curtis had differing views on which players to trade and what players to keep.
Case in point:
The Dax McCarty sale to the Chicago Fire.
Marsch reportedly wanted the deal, while Curtis wanted to trade away Felipe. Marsch won the battle and eventually the war.
Curtis was scheduled to host a seminar about the Red Bulls’ global soccer strategy at the National Soccer Coaches Association convention and to head up the Red Bulls at the Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Los Angeles in January and was abruptly called home. He was forced to cancel his appearances at the convention, which is a rare occurrence, and head coach Jesse Marsch ran the draft.
A day prior, Goal.com reported that Jesse Marsch was to become coach of Red Bull Salzburg and that one of his New York assistants, Chris Armas, was to become head of the Red Bulls. It did not pan out.
Minutes prior to the Jan. 13 draft in LA, Marsch had to address the media, stating that he was still Red Bulls coach.
Hamlett has been active in several levels of soccer, indoor and outdoor. He has accumulated almost 20 years of coaching experience, which includes two seasons as Chicago Fire head coach (2007-2008), when the team reached consecutive Eastern Conference finals, and the past two seasons as a Red Bulls assistant.
He played one season in Major League Soccer as a second-round pick in the first MLS Draft, appearing in 31 games for the Colorado Rapids before retiring at the end of the 1996 season.