New York Red Bulls beef up

It seems the New York Red Bulls are not leaving anything to chance in its quest to make New York the home of the 2011 MLS Cup trophy. The team announced the signing of two players and is the subject of news reports about the possible signing of another big name European star.

Norwegian international midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli is expected to join the team pending completion of the necessary transfer paperwork and young Brazilian midfielder Marcos Paullo is now a Red Bull. Also, there were reports in the French publication L’Equipe that indicated the New York team is trying to sign Chelsea (English Premier League) and former France forward Nicolas Anelka in an effort to link him with Thierry Henry on the Red Bulls frontline for the upcoming season.

“Jan is a player I have followed for several years and he will immediately compete for a place in our starting lineup,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “He has tremendous versatility and can play both in the midfield and in defense. We are excited that he has joined the Red Bulls.”

Solli joined Norwegian club Rosenborg BK in 2003, the year he debuted for the Norwegian national team, and led the club to three Norwegian Premier League titles (2003, 2004 and 2006) and the Norwegian Cup in 2003. He also helped Rosenborg reach the Group Stage of the 2004-2005 UEFA Champions League. Solli went on to play 40 times for his country, his last appearance coming in a 2-1 victory over Iceland on Sept. 3, 2010 in a 2012 UEFA European Championship qualification match.

The midfielder started his career with Odd Grenland in the Norwegian Premier League in 2000 and was featured 54 times before he joined Rosenborg BK; he most recently played for Norwegian club SK Brann, where he played 97 matches from 2007 to 2010.

The 20-year-old Paullo was signed last Wednesday after a trial with the Red Bulls last year, when he came on as a substitute for the Red Bulls against Manchester City last July. He was a member of Atletico Paranaense in Brazil.

Regarding the reports of an Anelka arrival in New York in an attempt to feature him alongside Henry on the Red Bulls frontline, New York Red Bulls spokesman Brian Tsao said, “We will not comment on players currently under contract with other clubs. Anelka, 31, is under contract to Chelsea for another year but is getting stiff competition for playing time with Chelsea’s recent signing of Spain forward Fernando Torres from Liverpool. It was reported also that Anelka expressed an interest in MLS.

Amidst all the signings, Major League Soccer announced Tuesday that Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls, will host the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 27 at 8:30 p.m. This year’s All-Star Game, which will feature a foreign club, will mark the third time the metropolitan New York area has hosted the game; the inaugural MLS All-Star Game in 1996 and the second in 1997 were played at Giants Stadium.

“We are excited to host Major League Soccer’s summer marquee event at Red Bull Arena,” said Erik Stover, managing director of the New York Red Bulls. “The AT&T MLS All-Star Game gives us a great opportunity to welcome the national and international soccer family to our market and showcase our facility in what we fully expect to be the greatest All-Star Game in League history.”

F.C. New York’s Home

F.C. New York, the new professional soccer club based in Garden City (NY), will make Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens home for its 2011 inaugural season in the USL PRO League. F.C. New York will kick off the 2011 season on Saturday, April 30 by hosting Orlando City.

“Belson Stadium is an ideal home for us to start and the administration and athletic staff at St. John’s University really worked hard and wanted us here as much as we wanted to be here,” F.C. New York President Doug Petersen said. “I had always said our first choice was to build a permanent home in Queens; working with St. John’s is a step in the right direction. In the past year our plans and visions have been embraced by a number of area leaders and, equally importantly, the fans on the street.”

F.C. New York will play four local colleges as part of its pre-season preparations for its inaugural USL PRO season, beginning in April. F.C. New York will open the pre-season against Hofstra on March 16 at 7:30 p.m, before traveling to face Adelphi on March 26 at 7:00 p.m. It will meet LIU on April 1, at 8:00 p.m, before closing out at its new home, Belson Field at St. John’s on April 5, 5:00 p.m.

Jabloteh Wins

Kennedy Hinkson scored just two minutes into the game to give San Juan Jabloteh a 1-0 win over North East Stars to win the 2010-11 Trinidad and Tobago FA Cup Friday at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya. Jabloteh, with a stalwart performance by its goalkeeper Cleon John to keep them ahead in the game, takes home a prize of $80,000.

In the opening game, the Trinidad and Tobago under-17 team, preparing for the CONCACAF final round qualifying tournament in Jamaica next week, beat their national counter- parts, the under-20s, by a 3-1 score. The 12-team tournament in Jamaica will qualify four teams for the FIFA youth World Cup in Guatemala this summer.

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