Kaku is playing with Al-Taawoun, even though he is still under contract with the Red Bulls. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Sorry, Red Bulls fans.

If you are hoping to some sort of resolution to the Kaku problem, then you’re going to have to wait, just like Red Bulls head of sport Kevin Thelwell.

Kaku, if you remember, joined Al-Taawoun in Saudi Arabia.

The Red Bulls, however, claimed the Paraguayan international midfielder’s contract was still property of the MLS club.

So, when the Red Bulls held their first preseason training session at the Red Bulls Training Facility in Hanover, N.J., Kaku naturally was a no-show.

“Unfortunately, it’s very very difficult for me to comment on at the moment. There’s an ongoing legal matter, of course, that we’re talking about and so unfortunately we’re unable to comment at this time,” Thelwell said during a Zoom media press conference Monday afternoon. “But as soon as we can bring you further news about that situation and of course, we will.”

A player bolting for another team while one still claims it owns his contract certainly is a rare event in sports.

“All of these situations are very, very difficult,” Thelwell said. “Over the course of time and through experience you you recognize that there’s always going to be difficulty when dealing with some circumstances. Not everybody sees it a particular way.

“We’re well supported by our legal team, who are well supported by MLS. Everything is in their hands now. And on that basis, hopefully we’ll be able to bring you some more news on that situation soon in terms of affecting the rest of the, the roster.”

Someone of Kaku’s ability could very well affect how the Red Bulls want to build their team this season.

“It’s not always about just one player, and so on that basis we recognize there were lots of other areas that we needed to focus down on to be able to improve the squad to support Gerhard [Struber, the head coach] going forward and, and I hope that’s what we’ve done,” Thelwell said.


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 Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. 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 Amazon.com.