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December 18, 2007

Marc de Grandpre

Juan Carlos Osorio

THE MODERATOR: Without further ado, the managing director for red bull New York, Mr. Marc de Grandpre.
MARC DE GRANDPRE: Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming. Today is a great day for us. After six long weeks of searching for our next coach and putting down on paper what we were looking for, I think we've found the guy who has the right mix of experience internationally, both in Europe, in the EPL and in South America and obviously in the MLS. So he brings to us everything we were looking for.
His commitment, his passion for the game are contagious. We understand that he is a true football man, as he says, and that's what we were looking for, someone who's passionate, committed, and who has something to prove, and he's coming here with a clear understanding of what the expectations are and he's going to live up to them. I'm extremely confident that this man will instill what he believes in into our players.
When I met Juan, we were discussing a few things, and he started to go through the values he believed in and the values that made him the man who he was, and those values mirror exactly the values Red Bulls lives by. So it was a match made in heaven, if I could say, when I met with Juan, and I was excited to have the opportunity to talk with him.
The man, as I said, he's committed, he's passionate, and he has a vision for this club that I have, that our ownership has, that our owner has, and I guarantee our fans will see a team that has passion, that has character, and that will compete in every game to win, week in and week out.
Without further ado, let me introduce to you Juan Carlos Osorio, the new head coach for the New York Red Bulls.
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: Good afternoon. Thank you very much for coming here today. It is without a doubt one of the most proud moments for me to be back in New York with all my family and friends. In 2001 when I went from here, from the MetroStars to Manchester City, I always made a promise or made a goal of myself to come back to the MLS as a head coach of the New York Red Bulls, and today I have been given that opportunity. I'm extremely proud, extremely pleased to be here, and I want to thank Mark and the Red Bulls organization for giving me this extraordinary opportunity which I hope I can deliver, and I can definitely help to put up a very competitive team that will make all the fans proud and I will invite them to follow the team regularly.
I hope I can bring success to this organization that over the past years has shown the full commitment to sporting excellence. Thank you again for coming.

Q. Could you just give us a chronology of how you went about talking to Juan, deciding that he was your guy, dealing with Chicago? There was a lot of talk of potential tampering charges against the club, John Guppy saying Juan is locked up, he's the coach for the foreseeable future, and then Juan resigns. So if you could please tell us how it came about?
MARC DE GRANDPRE: Let's start with it how it started. When I sat down with Jeff and I talked about what our next coach should be, I'll tell you now that Jeff Agoos simply said, "Juan Carlos Osorio is the guy you need to get." He was the guy at the top of his list and he explained to me why, and I shared Jeff's vision and ideas as to why Juan would be the right guy for our organization.
After that obviously I contacted John Guppy at some point in November around the MLS Cup or earlier. They denied me the opportunity to talk to Juan, and we moved on from there. Jeff and I went on to plans B, C and D, and from there we were progressing with interviews, and a few weeks later I got a call from John telling me that he would give me the opportunity to talk with Juan. And from there I met with Juan on a snowy Sunday afternoon in December. That was it, and now here we are today.

Q. Did the league ever file tampering charges?

Q. You've been here before and you probably more than anybody else has known, shall we say, the history of this team, the coaches it's gone through, whether it was Octavio, Bruce, Bob Bradley. What makes you think you can do it where ten coaches previous to you have not been able to produce a winner here?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: I think there are two questions there. The first one, what made me come here and what makes we believe that I can do it, that's two different things.
First of all, I will start by saying that in both cases, the magnitude of the challenge here is immense. I think that's what life is about. It's about challenges, and I think this is probably the biggest challenge there is. And being from the New York area and spending a year -- well, a season and a couple months here as an assistant coach, I realized how big this club is, and that in itself is a great challenge, and that made me decide that I couldn't let this go by.
And the second question, I can't promise that I will do that, but I will certainly put all my efforts and you will certainly see a very competitive team that leaves everything in any game and that will be capable to compete against anybody in this MLS league and can beat anybody that given day. And if that's the case, then we'll see how far we can be with a team like that.

Q. I'm just curious, going back to the timeline issue, I just wanted to make sure I had this clear. So there was no -- after you were initially denied permission to talk to him, not only was there no contact between you and he or your agents and his agent or the club, and if that's the case, do you have any idea then why, I guess for lack of a better term, Guppy changed his mind, called you, contacted you and gave you permission to talk to him?
MARC DE GRANDPRE: If I could answer your first question, there was no contact after I spoke with John and until he called me back a few weeks later. There was no contact. I assume it was conversations that John had with Juan and some folks in his organization. I can't speak to that.

Q. My question then is what transpired between the time that John Guppy first said no and then he called back and said, yes, you can? What conversations did you have with John Guppy that allowed John to change his mind?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: I kept expressing my desire and my willingness to at least be interviewed, once John expressed to me the interest from the Red Bulls.
In the same conversation, I told him that I wanted to pursue it, A, family reasons, and B, footballing reasons. I kept saying during that time, I need to go. My family deserves this chance. I do deserve that chance, and I can only -- by going there I can only find out what the Red Bulls as a club really is, and then I will make a decision.

Q. Juan, from the time of the release last Monday when Chicago announced that you had resigned, it did not sound like you were departing on good terms with Chicago. I don't know that, but again, that's the tone. Do you have any or do you sense any animosity on the part of the Fire, and how do you feel the relationship with that club will be when you play them?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: Well, first of all, as far as I'm concerned, that was a mutual agreement, and I don't have hard feelings. In fact, I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody at the Fire. I think I have very good time there. I want to thank everybody, the front office, the medical department, as a whole the organization and the president to have given me the opportunity to have come back and coach in the MLS, and most especially, a special thanks to the playing staff because they always did what I asked them to do.
But after that I can only concentrate on what is now, and like I said before, I am extremely proud and extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to be the head coach here.
As far as personal issues, I have none against anybody, and certainly as a club, I can only prepare the Red Bulls to play against any team in the MLS in the same way I would do against Chicago for that matter.

Q. A minute ago you said you wanted to at least interview for both personal and football reasons. What were some of those football reasons that drew you here and made you decide that perhaps New York was a better place for you to be football-wise than Chicago?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: I think as I mentioned before, the challenge itself of being here as a head coach in a franchise that, with all the respect for the previous coaches, have not accomplished a lot, makes me believe that this is a very, very challenging and a great opportunity for me as a coach.

Q. Going by your statement, Bruce Arena was fired because he didn't win the championship in his first year. Will Juan Carlos be required to win a championship in his first year?
MARC DE GRANDPRE: Let me correct the first statement. Bruce resigned from the New York Red Bulls. Number two, Juan will not be fired if we don't win the championship. As long as we can look our fans in the eyes and tell them that our team did everything they could every week and they were well prepared and left everything on the field as Juan said, that's what we're looking for.

Q. Is there a goal here?
MARC DE GRANDPRE: I'm confident that Juan will take our team to the playoffs.

Q. A question about the composition of the coaching staff, assistant coaches, and also if you'd make a comment about the composition of the team, if a player like Claudio Reyna fits into the plans. I know you know him from Man City. Where does he fit in?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: I try my hardest to be a fair man, and I'm doing what I did with Chicago as a matter of fact. I worked with the assistants that were there at the time. There are a few members of the coaching staff that I'm going to meet with and I'm going to obviously know and learn more about them and then I will make a decision.
As far as Claudio and everybody in this club, on the playing staff, I will also talk to them. In fact, I talked to one of the players yesterday and I expressed my desire for him to stay here and I expressed how I would like to run things here at the club. Then when the time comes, then Claudio obviously has to make his own decision and I will make my own decision. But at the moment I can't answer more because I haven't talked to him.

Q. Since you left the MetroStars back in 2001, what is your opinion of the league now since you came back this past season with Chicago?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: I think the league has improved substantially. I think the foreigners that come now to the league are younger, again, with all due respect for the previous players that have come through this league, and therefore they have a longer professional career. I think the game is more dynamic now. There are plenty -- there are more and better strikers, so therefore the offensive level of football I think has improved. The defensive side I still believe is pretty much the same. The quality of the American players in my eyes is improving. The game as a whole is growing and hopefully we'll continuing nurturing that and being part of that.

Q. Can you address the makeup of the team as you see it now, what the strengths of the team are in your eyes, what the weaknesses are and what you think needs to be addressed immediately as far as the team for next season?
JUAN CARLOS OSORIO: In a nutshell, if I'm honest, without criticizing the previous coach, for whom I have a great admiration and respect, I would say if you look at the stats then you'll notice it's the third team in scoring goals, so definitely the team can score goals and they have very good strikers in Juan and Jozy and Wolyniec and even in Richards.
Defensively we have to improve. A lot of goals were allowed, and I think that's probably the department that we have to strengthen the team the most.
But if you ask me as a coach, I think we can always improve in every single part of the team. We need more plays on the left side, and hopefully I have enough to get one or two players that will definitely strengthen the squad and not only that but the team.

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