Ex-MetroStar Aims to Resurface with Red Bulls

Rodrigo Faria’s light shone quickly, but brilliantly, in MLS.

The former MetroStars forward was one of the most intriguing talents to ever land in the league, then seemingly vanished. He hopes to make an impact in MLS again, writing perhaps a longer chapter this time around.

Faria was a 2001 college draft selection of the then-MetroStars, the precursor to the club known today as the New York Red Bulls. He was also the MLS Rookie of the Year, a shock given that few knew of him before the draft since he barely even played collegiate soccer.

He would score 20 goals over the course of two seasons in New York before being traded to the Chicago Fire in a deal that sent head coach Bob Bradley to the MetroStars. Faria would be out of MLS by the very next season, heading back to his native Brazil following the death of his father. He overtook the family’s business and never played soccer again.

Faria would keep himself involved in the game however, coaching children in Brazil and for a brief time, trained with some club teams. But he never, ever, played professionally again, despite his scintillating form in MLS.

Now, Rodrigo would like to get back involved within MLS.

“I want to get into soccer again. Academy here? Of course, New York is my goal, this is my place. It’s the place I want to be. I never understood the trade. If I got the opportunity here – I’d do anything. I already got my ‘F License’ – it’s the only one I can do online,” Faria told MSGNetwork.com.

“I can study here. I’m going to do everything to get every single license from ‘F’ to the ‘A’ so I can be a real coach. Maybe even an MLS coach because I know the game.”

Faria was at Red Bulls training on Friday, invited by equipment manager Fernando Ruiz to take in the session. Ruiz keeps in contact with Faria and a number of former players, mentioning that the team would like to have him stop in for the session.

The connections go beyond just his affiliation with the old MetroStars.

Head coach Jesse Marsch played with Faria when they were teammates on the Fire in 2003. In addition, assistant coach Chris Armas was a vital part of that team as well.

Marsch teased that Faria, now 40-years old is still lean and trim, looking as if he can play a few minutes for the team still. That won’t happen but his heart, the Brazilian striker said, is very much in joining this team again.

“Hopefully I can make it because I want to be here again, that’s my goal. That’s the most important thing for me right now,” Faria said.

[Listen: Red Bulls Goalkeeper Coach Preston Burpo on The Red Bulls Insider Podcast]

“I never played back [in Brazil] because there was a fee if I went back there [for his rights].

“I didn’t break my contract. I just retired. As I retired, I couldn’t play for the [next] two years. I practiced with the Flamengo team, the Vasco team for two years – just practice. Then I started to run the family business.”

Faria will attend the Red Bulls derby match this Sunday at New York City F.C.