By Peter Schwartz
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When Bradley Wright-Phillips joined the Red Bulls during the summer transfer window in 2013, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect after moving from England to New Jersey. His kids were young enough at that point where a move wouldn’t disrupt anything, including school, but there was some trepidation.READ MORE: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
“Moving away from home can be very scary, especially moving to another country,” Wright-Phillips said during an exclusive phone interview with WFAN.com on Tuesday night. “I was scared, but my wife was like you have to take a chance.”
And Red Bulls fans are more than happy that BWP rolled the dice.
With 70 regular season goals and seven more in the playoffs, Wright-Phillips’ tenure with the Red Bulls has been nothing short of brilliant and he is going to continue to electrify the red and white faithful beyond 2017.
Wright-Phillips, whose contract was set to expire at the end of the season, has signed a multi-year extension that will keep him in Harrison for a while.
“It’s just a good feeling,” said BWP, who has won two of the last three MLS Golden Boot awards. “Sometimes you can only get a year and you don’t know what you’re going to be doing next year. It just really helps me focus on the task at hand and that’s the MLS Cup. It’s just nice to be able to relax knowing that things are secure, especially for my family.”
Ideally, a player heading into the final year of a contract would like to get a new deal wrapped up. As the negotiations took place, Wright-Phillips came to training camp not knowing what was going to lie ahead for him beyond 2017. With a year left on his contract, he wanted to make sure that he could still help deliver a championship to the Red Bulls and their fans.
He just didn’t know if that quest for MLS Cup with the Red Bulls was going to be limited to just this season.
“I had a year left and I was afraid because I didn’t know if I was going to get a new contract,” he said. “I was just hoping that we could win it this year and that’s still the goal. I feel like it would not be complete without an MLS Cup and it would just be amazing to do. This is the place where I want to win MLS Cup.”READ MORE: NYC Parks Employee Slashed Across Face And Chest On The Job In The Bronx
And the quest will continue after some disappointing playoff results the last few seasons. Other than his team’s postseason stumbles, things have worked out very well for Wright-Phillips and there are a few reasons why he has decided to stick around.
Once scared about moving to the United States, he says now he loves it in the New York/New Jersey area and lives here year round. It doesn’t hurt that the Red Bulls have done a lot of winning during the BWP era, including a pair of Supporters Shields. Wright-Phillips has also been impressed with how the organization is run.
“Winning always helps,” the finalist last season for MLS MVP said. “I just think the facilities, the academy and the vision they have, it’s lovely to be involved in it. It’s an amazing atmosphere. It’s easy to play football when you’re happy and the Red Bulls make me happy. I haven’t missed home one time since I’ve been here. Not just me, but my whole family settled in well.”
With a new contract in hand, Wright-Phillips can put the negotiations in his rearview mirror and turn his attention to helping the Red Bulls towards their ultimate goal of winning a championship. Off to a 2-1-1 start to the season and tied with Columbus for first place in the East, the Red Bulls next play Saturday night in Houston.
The Red Bulls have scored just four goals this season but there’s still plenty of soccer to be played. After this past Saturday’s scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake at Red Bull Arena, Wright-Phillips and the Red Bulls spent some time this week watching video so that they can make some adjustments.
So there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
“The season doesn’t look too bad,” Wright-Phillips said. “We have a long way to go. We’re close to being the team the league knows we can be, but we’re still a little bit away from that. We’re not really there yet, but it won’t be long before we are.”
When that happens, it won’t be the only thing that the other MLS teams will have to worry about. They’ll also have to deal with golden touch of Bradley Wright-Phillips in a Red Bulls uniform beyond the 2017 season.MORE NEWS: NYPD: Douglas Young Charged With Murder In Deadly Shooting Of DoorDash Worker Francisco Villalva Vitinio
Don’t forget to follow Pete on Twitter at @pschwartzcbsfan. You can also follow @TheRealBWP and @NewYorkRedBulls