New York Red Bulls
Photo Credit: Riley Lorenz

A Review of the Red Bulls' Busy November

After the New York Red Bulls were eliminated from the first round of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs at the hands of FC Cincinnati, the organization got right to work making some changes. Here is a review of the moves New York made in the month of November.

Red Bulls and Denis Hamlett Mutually Part Ways

The Red Bulls and Sporting Director Denis Hamlett mutually agreed to part ways following the end of the 2023 season. Hamlett had been with the club since 2015 where he started as an assistant coach, before being promoted to Sporting Director where he served for the past seven seasons.

Head of Sport Jochen Schneider commenced Hamlett and his contributions to the club.

“It has been an honor to work closely with Denis on all sporting matters pertaining to the club,” Schneider said. “His insights and perspective were always important when making key decisions for the success of the organization. We wish Denis and his family all the best.”

Hamlett helped the Red Bulls to seven consecutive playoff appearances, including an Eastern Conference Final and a Supporters Shield in 2018. Hamlett was also an assistant coach when the club won the shield in 2015.

"My family and I would like to thank the Red Bulls organization and the fans for the nine years I have been with the club," Hamlett said. "I am proud of the fact that the team made the playoffs every year during my tenure. I wish the organization, the fans, and the players all the best going forward."

The Red Bulls Do Not Renew Troy Lesesne’s Contract

New York opted not to renew head coach Troy Lesesne’s contract, deciding to go in a different direction. Lesesne joined the club in 2022 as an assistant coach to Gerhard Struber. When Stuber parted ways with the club in May, Lesesne assumed the role of interim head coach.

When Lesesne became head coach, New York was at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with just nine points in 11 matches. The newly appointed coach at the time gave the club two options, which were to keep fighting or just give up. The Red Bulls chose the first option and ended the year with 43 points, an 11-13-10 record, and their 14th consecutive trip to the postseason.

“Being 33 games and 93 minutes out of a playoff spot, then in the final minute the team was there, that says a lot about the coaching staff, the players, and the whole club,” Schneider said. “This is in the DNA of this club. There's no quit here at Red Bull Arena. I'm really thankful for what Troy did here as an interim coach. I wish him and his family the best.”

In addition to Lesesne leaving, New York also parted ways with assistant coach Zach Prince. Prince came from New Mexico United of the USL Championship and proved to make up a great duo with Lesesne in their time together.

Hassan Ndam Leaves the Club

The Red Bulls decided not to exercise Ndam’s 2024 option and the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. The 25-year-old defender made 19 appearances in two years for New York with 12 starts. Ndam contributed to seven clean sheets and now seeks a new club.

“We want to thank Hassan for his effort and commitment this season for the club,” Schneider said. “Hassan stepped up in big moments for the club this season and we wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor.”

Tom Barlow is Off to Chicago

The Red Bulls traded Tom Barlow to Chicago Fire FC in exchange for $400,000 in general allocation money, where $250,000 is guaranteed. Barlow was drafted by New York in the second round of the 2018 MLS Draft as a product for the University of Wisconsin.

Barlow played a total of 123 games (34 in 2023) with the Red Bulls where he started in 50 (20 in 2023).

The Wisconsin alumnus amassed 14 goals over his career so far, three of which came this season, as well as two assists. Barlow was especially effective in the Red Bulls’ push to the playoffs and brief playoff run where he scored all three of his goals
The 28-year-old forward begins a new chapter in Chicago, where he’ll help out on the offensive side of the ball.

New York Extends Dylan Nealis

The Red Bulls extended defender Dylan Nealis through a one-year contract ending after the 2024 season. Nealis has been with the club since 2022 after being acquired through a trade with Nashville SC. The 25-year-old had 19 appearances this season, where he started 10 games. Nealis remains with the club and his brother, Sean, captain of the squad.

“We are very excited to keep Dylan with the club,” Schneider said. “We have seen a lot from Dylan over the last two seasons. He made a big step forward in his development over the last year – on and off the pitch. We are happy to keep consistency within our backline.”

The Red Bulls have yet to announce a new head coach or sporting director, but the hope is both roles will be filled before January, according to Schneider.