Luis Robles became the second goalkeeper to wear the captain’s armband in Red Bulls’ history. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. – For the first time in two decades, the Red Bulls will have a goalkeeper as team captain.
Head coach Jesse Marsch Wednesday named keeper Luis Robles as skipper.
The first and only other goalkeeper captain was National Soccer Hall of Famer Tony Meola, who had that role in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Meola also captained the team for a few games in 2006.
Robles succeeds midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who was traded to Orlando City SC in the offseason. He was the second Red Bulls captain dealt away in a year as the club sent Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire in January 2017.
Marsch said the coaching staff selected Robles.
“For the last 5 1/2 years, I have been given a great privilege to represent this organization and its supporters on the field,” Robles said. “With this new duty, as captain, I understand that I have been entrusted with an even greater responsibility to be at my best, to empower my teammates to be the best they can be, while leading the way to our shared goals of an MLS Cup and success at the highest levels.”
Robles is the league’s iron man, having started and played 90 minutes for an MLS-record 174 consecutive regular-season games. Since joining the Red Bulls during the 2012 season, the Fort Huachuca, Ariz. native has recorded 49 MLS regular-season shutouts, 508 saves and a 80-51-43 mark. His 49 shutouts place him tied for 12th with Bill Hamid all-time in MLS.
He owns three club records (field players and goalkeepers combined) and every record for goalkeepers. Robles is the club’s all-time leader in games played (174), games started (174) and minutes (15,660). As for all-time club goalkeeper records, Robles sits first in wins (80), saves (509), shutouts (49) and save percentage (67.5).
Red Bulls/MetroStars all-time captains
1996: Peter Vermes
1997-98: Tony Meola
1999-2002: Tab Ramos
2003-04: Eddie Pope
2005: Youri Djorkaeff/Amado Guevara
2006: Youri Djorkaeff/Amado Guevara/Tony Meola
2007: Claudio Reyna
2008: Claudio Reyna/Juan Pablo Angel
2009-10: Juan Pablo Angel
2011-14: Thierry Henry
2015-16: Dax McCarty
2017: Sacha Kljestan
2018: Luis Robles