Red Bulls Name Armas Head Coach As Marsch Departs

Armas, Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas. Photo: New York Red Bulls

For the second time in less than a month, a New York professional soccer team in the midst of a successful season will be welcoming a new head coach.

On Friday, two days before the next installment of the New York Derby, the New York Red Bulls named Chris Armas its new head coach. He fills the position vacated by Jesse Marsch, who is leaving the Major League Soccer side to coach New York’s sister club, RB Leipzig in Germany’s Bundesliga. (Marsch was officially named an assistant coach with Leipzig on July 9.)

In early June, then-New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira left the club to take the head coaching spot at OCG Nice in Ligue 1. The club would later name Donènec Torrent head coach.

“We are fully supportive of Jesse and his decision to pursue a new opportunity,” said Denis Hamlett, New York’s Sporting Director. “Jesse played a large role in establishing our club identity, but the culture here is the result of the dedication and hard work of many. We know Chris and the coaching staff will have our team ready to compete each week, and they will continue to find ways to improve and work towards our ultimate goal of winning MLS Cup.”

Armas, a native New Yorker, becomes the 16th head coach in New York Red Bulls franchise history. The former U.S. international joined New York’s staff in February of 2015 after time as the head coach of the Adelphi University women’s soccer team and as an assistant on Denis Hamlett’s staff with the Chicago Fire. Armas played 10 of his 12 MLS seasons in Chicago, where he led the Fire to an MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup double in 1998, a Supporters’ Shield (2003), three more Open Cups (2000, 2003, 2006), and two more MLS Cup Final appearances.

In addition to his time coaching at Adelphi, Armas’ other connection to the Long Island soccer community is through the Long Island Rough Riders. He played for the Rough Riders for two seasons, including 1995 when the club won the USISL’s Pro League Championship. Armas was named a USISL All-Star that campaign. He was then selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the inaugural MLS Draft in 1996.

“It’s always rewarding to see players come through the Rough Riders system and continue to thrive and find success at the next level,” said Pedro Suarez, Rough Riders general manager. “As an organization, we pride ourselves on facilitating that advancement pathway and seeing Chris’ promotion to head coach of the Red Bulls only strengthens that commitment.”

(This story was updated to include information regarding Marsch joining RB Leipzig.)