Red Bulls name Petke head coach

Red Bull New York ended speculation surrounding its head coaching position on Thursday by handing the title over to former defender Mike Petke.

The Red Bulls had been linked with a number of coaches since the club parted ways with Hans Backe at the conclusion of the 2012 season, including Paulo Sousa, Gary McAllister and Paul Lambert.

But the job has gone to Petke, a former captain of the club during his playing days. The 36-year-old had been serving on the Red Bulls staff as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.

"Ever since I joined New York in 1998, this is the club that has always been closest to my heart," Petke said. "I am thrilled to have earned this once-in- a-lifetime opportunity. It is truly a dream come true.

"I know there is a lot of work ahead and our challenge is not easy. However, I am excited to take hold of my new responsibility and hopeful that I can help build a hard-working team that our club's loyal supporters can all be proud of."

Petke enjoyed a 13-year career in MLS that included two playing stints with New York from 1998-2002 and 2008-10. He holds the club record for games played with 169 (196 in all competitions), games started (158 in the MLS regular season) and minutes played (14,060 in the regular season).

"Mike is very passionate about our club and has shown us that he has the leadership and organizational qualities to be our head coach," said Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh. "He is a terrific servant for this club, from being a top player to most recently heading our reserve squad. Mike has earned this opportunity and he will have the full support of our staff to help ensure the team���s success. We believe that his experience both as a player and coach in American soccer will be a significant asset as we head into the 2013 season."