New York Red Bulls: Chris Armas is the epitome of the MLS

24 Jun 2000: Chris Armas #14 of the Chicago Fire runs with the ball during the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. The Fire defeated the Earthquakes1-0.Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport
24 Jun 2000: Chris Armas #14 of the Chicago Fire runs with the ball during the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California. The Fire defeated the Earthquakes1-0.Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck /Allsport /

Chris Armas has now been the head coach of the New York Red Bulls for a week. Having already coached his first match vs a rival, it is time to assess how he got here.

Major League Soccer is still a growing league. It still has work to do to be taken seriously and reach mainstream success. Quite honestly, it is doing a great job as it expands into even more markets.

However, one of the most underrated people to ever step foot on the pitch for the league is indeed the New York Red Bulls new coach, Chris Armas.

To say he deserves this honor as a head coach in the league is an understatement. He has plenty of reps and service to the game.

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He was part of the league during its inception. That is an awesome feat. MLS needs to glorify these type of guys more often. He is an American soccer player through and through. Not to mention a native New Yorker.

Armas spent 12 seasons as a player in the MLS. That is an impressive feat in itself. This league is his career. But aside from the impressive personal accomplishments he has a play, it the team culture’s he’s been around that makes him more quintessential MLS.

Coach Armas was an integral player in the Chicago Fire’s historic inaugural season where they won the MLS Cup and US Open Cup. Granted the game is much different now than it was 20 years ago a lot of it is the same.

The Red Bulls’ desperate quest to give their supporters and themselves an MLS Cup remains. For RBNY, the Cup is still their ultimate goal. Even now, it is what they are all in for.

Armas has individual accolades as a player that just shy what soccer legend Landon Donovan has. Although he never got the mainstream attention that David Beckham did, he is, well-respected. At least it seems like it.

But, just because he played in the MLS and won here, is not what makes him worthy of being the Red Bulls coach, it is just what makes him qualified. He has his reps as a coach too.

He was an outstanding assistant for the Jesse Marsch staff. The entire staff was nothing short of brilliant since they took over. Much like he was on the Fire as a player, he is a key piece in where the Red Bulls are today. Now, he can continue to build that foundation Marsch started.

He then coached women’s soccer at Adelphi University in New York. He did that for a few seasons before joining Marsch’s staff and coming to New York’s red side.

Chris Armas is not only the next guy for the Red Bulls, but he is the epitome of what an MLS lifer should be. He was born in the country, he played a long career in the MLS since its inception and has been working his tail end off in the lower parts of the coaching totem pole.

Armas is exactly where he should be now. Coaching a team in his home state after proving himself and establishing credibility.

He almost exactly mirrors Jesse Marsch’s career. That is a good thing. Losing Marsch to Europe is tough and a big loss. But to have someone who has a similar path as Marsch makes it way more comforting.

It is already impressive how a loss as big as Marsch is not causing much disarray despite it being so sudden and in the middle of a season.

Of course, Armas could be here for a while as the Red Bulls coach. But through hard work and loyalty to the league when much others were not giving it a chance, shows how important he is to what the foundation and standard of this league needs to be.

If there is ever a day where the sad reality of going to a Red Bull sister club overseas comes, it would be a bad loss as well. But that is so far down the road and all speculation.

But it is people like Armas that makes European clubs finally want people from the MLS to go over there. It is people like him that makes people from the MLS actually valuable on the global scale for once.

Chris Armas has a lot to do to prove he is a great head coach in the MLS. And that is going to be a fun journey to watch. However, he is the epitome, a standard of what the MLS is.

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We can only hope is hard work and loyalty to America’s soccer not only continues to pay off for him but also pays off for the New York Red Bulls’ quest for trophies.