Kevin Thelwell on Bradley Carnell: “I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but he’s a candidate for the role.” (Photo courtesy of the Red Bulls)

By Michael Lewis Editor

Kevin Thelwell isn’t about to count out Red Bulls interim head coach Bradley Carnell as possibly taking over the job permanently.

“For sure, he’s got a shot,” the Red Bulls head of sport said at the team’s pregame show on MSG. “I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but he’s a candidate for the role.”

A native South African and a former member of the country’s national team, Carnell was named interim coach by Thelwell Saturday after the latter fired head coach Chris Armas Friday.

He made his debut as Red Bulls coach for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena.

Carnell, who was an assistant coach under Armas, spoke with the former U.S. international midfielder Friday after training.

“It was pretty emotional,” Carnell said. “He said, ‘Brad, you’ve got to run with it. I’m your No. 1 fan now.’ It was a relief. It gave me confidence.”

The team’s reaction to Armas getting the axe?

“We’re all shocked,” Carnell said. “We’re pretty beat up. If it was easy, everybody would be doing this job. … We’re all crushed. The dust settles and we move on.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at