Will Smith is a long-time Red Bulls fan (he hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. and not the actor Will Smith). He shared this letter he wrote to Red Bulls head of sport Jochen Schneider and sporting director Denis Hamlett with FrontRowSoccer.com

Dear Denis & Jochen,

I thought I’d take a moment to offer you my services as it’s clear that whatever we are doing, as a team, is not working. Sure, we make the playoffs every year, but, franky, if we’re getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round every year, we’re really not getting the job done. By way of comparison, our rivals in the Bronx won the [MLS] Cup last year and are still playing this year while we, alas, are not.

Let me start by saying I am a fan of the team since 1996 and a fan of the sport much longer than that. I would also like to point out that I am not a hardcore “Red Bull Out” guy. I just think that you guys are too close to the action to see the picture clearly; not unlike standing a couple of inches away from a Monet painting.

Let me further add that I will not bill you for this service. I am doing this purely out of love for the team.

I will address each area of the pitch (note highbrow European pretension!!!) herein and I will do it in a cost conscious manner as (let’s be honest), you guys have proven yourselves to be kind of frugal over the last few years.

Shall we now …

Goalkeeping

We are fine here even if Ryan Meara walks as we have quality at Red Bulls II waiting to step up.

Defense

I realize that Aaron Long is 30-years-old and that Red Bull generally operates on the Logans Run principle. That said, Long is a leader and a great central defender. His free agency should end with a return trip to Red Bull Arena. Besides, Sean Nealis, despite having great soccer smarts, is a mediocre athlete. Andres Reyes, on the other hand, is a terrific athlete with a shockingly low soccer IQ. Every game looks like the first game he ever played.

I would like to see Kyle Duncan return at right back. Let’s be honest … he is not really European quality. JT is terrific at left back but we need depth there.

Midfield

We have a lot of them! Perhaps too many! And maybe not enough!!! We are slowing Caden Clark’s development by not playing him, but we’re not playing him because he is always hurt. I’m 57 and in much better shape than he is apparently. Christian Casares, Frankie Amaya and Daniel Edelman have defensive midfield adequately covered while Lewis Morgan and Luquinas have left and central mid covered. The right side remains a mystery. We could really use a player with speed who can occasionally score some goals. Former Red Bull Derrick Etienne, Jr. is a free agent this winter and wouldn’t break the bank. He’s our man.

Forwards

Listen, they are all terrible. Polish Pride Patryk Klimayla couldn’t score on an empty net if his life or career depended on it. His strike rate is abysmal and I an being kind here. Elias Manoel might have potential but he is 20 and no guarantee to lead us to a trophy (and that IS the goal here, right????) Serge Ngoma and loanee Jake LaCava have potential and Tom Barlow … well, he tries hard. I won’t deny that. The truth is that we do not have a proven goal-scorer and that terribly hurts our development as a team. Besides spending the money on Long, you need to open the damn purse-strings and sign a veteran (read: someone NOT 19-years-old) who has scored goals (note: plural here) in either Europe, South America or MLS. Not doing so is like telling the fans, “We don’t care.”

Intangibles

Some players are just “winners.” No matter where they go, their team wins. We don’t have that player. We need to find that player. It almost doesn’t matter what position he plays. We just need him on the field. Ideally, though, he’d be a forward.

Crowds

As you may have noticed, the crowd at the shameful loss to FC Cincinnati was poor. Now, if you like, you can blame it on the noon start. I will blame it on 27 years of not winning the Cup and no reason to believe we could win it this year. I would also blame it on our lack of star power. Who would pat $40 to see Patty Boy? Other than me, of course; largely out of habit.

Atmosphere

Lord, that young lady who acts as MC at halftime has an annoying voice. It’s terrible. Unlistenable. I’d rather sit in silence and have my knuckles wrapped with a ruler than listen to her. And I know I’m not alone on this one.

Manager

Gerhard Struber’s postgame interviews are great. His use of the word “sexy” to describe almost anything under the sun is exceptional. That said, we haven’t really advanced our cause under him, there’s always someone in the doghouse and he never accepts blame for bad coaching decisions. I would keep him on a short leash if I were you.

Ok, now let’s summarize the off-season plan I have created for you:

1) Re-sign Aaron Long

2) Sign defensive depth

3) Bring back Derrick Etienne, Jr.

4) Bring in a veteran forward from within MLS or Europe or South American

5) Sign a “winner.” ( He could even be that forward!!!! 2 for 1!!!! Cost consciousness!!!)

I trust you to implement this plan. It can’t be any worse than what you’ve been doing.

I’m not even charging you for this. I’m providing this service purely out of love for this team.

Thank you,

Will Smith
Brooklyn, N.Y.