Red Bulls undergo front office shakeup as sporting director Ali Curtis leaves

The New York Red Bulls have undergone a major change to their front office. The club announced that they have mutually agreed to part ways with sporting director Ali Curtis, making way for a new person to head up the Red Bulls’ soccer operations.

Curtis has been seemingly on the outs in New York for weeks, with his absence from the scouting combine and MLS SuperDraft widely reported. Exactly what that meant and why the two sides were having problems was unclear. Now that they’ve officially parted ways, that’s still the case.

“Over the past four weeks, Curtis and the club tried to work through differing views,” the club said in a statement. “Ultimately, both sides agreed to part ways.”

Multiple reports have indicated that assistant coach Denis Hamlett had taken over Curtis’ responsibilities in recent weeks. The Red Bulls’ statement did not include any information on who would replace him or what the decision-making structure would look like. If Hamlett has indeed taken over, odds are that he will continue in that role, at least for the short-term.

Curtis’ arrival in New York was greeted with widespread derision among the club’s fanbase. There was talk about a giant binder he brought and his use of analytics led some to think he was out of touch. That he immediately fired beloved manager Mike Petke did not help him any and a town hall with fans went terribly. Before the 2015 season, Curtis was reviled despite his Red Bulls having not yet played a single match.

However, once Curtis’ teams did take the field, it was clear that he had something special going in New York. The Red Bulls won the Supporters’ Shield in 2015, the first trophy in club history. They topped the Eastern Conference in 2016, establishing themselves as one of the league’s best teams once again. It was the best two-year stretch the Red Bulls had ever had and with the wins came adoration from the fans.

Now, Curtis is gone. Whether the Red Bulls can continue to win and compete for trophies remains to be seen. How New York will make decisions is up in the air, at least publicly. It’s a new era at Red Bull Arena.