By Michael Lewis
In what was hardly a surprise, given recent reports from England and Italy, Gerhard Struber will lead the Red Bulls for the rest of the Major League Soccer season.
The Red Bulls Tuesday named the Austrian head coach.
Struber, who most recently coached Barnsley in the English Championship, will succeed Chris Armas, who was fired Sept 4, as boss. Former assistant coach Bradley Carnell has been the interim coach since. He has had strong ties to the Red Bull organization, having played and coached at Red Bull Salzburg in a pair of tenures over 16 years.
The Red Bulls agreed to a $2.36 million deal to purchase his rights, the Yorkshire Post reported Monday. Struber reportedly has signed a three-year deal with the MLS club.
It was not immediately known when the 43-year-old Struber will be on the sidelines running the show as the team said he will be introduced to the media after he receives his work visa. No timeline was given.
“Gerhard is a bright coach, and we’re very pleased to welcome him to the club,” Red Bulls head of sport Kevin Thelwell said in a statement. “Gerhard’s playing style and experience in youth development align with our philosophy and above all, as a person he fits into our culture. We look forward to him getting here and working together to achieve the goals we have set as a club.”
Under Struber’s leadership, Barnsley is lanquishing in 21st place out of 24 teams in the Championship with a 0-3-1 record.
“I am looking forward to getting to know my new team, hopefully very soon.” Struber said in a statement. “We want to pursue very ambitious goals together and develop steadily. The challenge of working in MLS makes me proud and gives me massive motivation for a big opportunity.”
Struber has been unhappy at the English Championship club. He recently questioned the team’s ambition after its 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough Saturday.
“I have other ambitions and aims and I cannot feel that the owners have the same ambitions and goals like me,” Struber was quoted by the BBC recently. “My future is open and we will see.”
Struber has coached several Red Bull teams in Europe, including the youth division of Red Bull Salzburg for several years. That includes the Under-19 squad from 2009-10, the U-15 side from 2014-15, the U-16 team from 2016-17 and the U-19s from 2017-19.
He began his career at Red Bull Salzburg, when it was known as SV Austria Salzburg, making 50 appearances and scoring three goals as a midfielder from 1995-2001. He also worked as a trainer and talent manager of FC Liefering and coached at Wolfsberger AC.
A native of Kuchl, Austria, Struber competed in the Austrian Bundesliga over 13 seasons. He started his career at SV Austria Salzburg in 1995. He also was a member of the teams that won the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Super Cup. He moved to LASK in 2001 and played for several other teams, ending his career with Red Bull Salzburg in 2008.
“We are really pleased with the process over the last month and are proud that our league’s policies are in line with our own when it comes to diversity in hiring,” Thelwell said in a statement. “We met and spent time with several great candidates of diverse backgrounds and experiences. The quality of the candidate pool further solidified our confidence in Gerhard as a top choice to lead our team.
“I would also like to commend Bradley Carnell and the rest of the coaching staff for their leadership during the last month as we continue to work towards securing a playoff spot this season.”