On Tuesday October 9th, the New York Red Bulls announced they hired Natasha Patel to lead the analytics team at the club.
Patel joins the Red Bulls after 8 years at Southampton, where she went from an analyst at the academy level to Head of Performance Analysis. At Southampton, Patel implemented a uniform video and performance analysis process for their academy. So what does this mean? At the surface level, it may just look like another backroom addition but there may be more to this hire.
Paul Mitchell is getting more involved
No not that one.
Though that should be obvious based on the state of some of the players hair *cough Aaron Long cough*. This Paul Mitchell is a former player turned administrator who is now the technical director at Red Bull International Soccer. Prior to that, he was the head of Recruitment and Development at RB Leipzig, serving as Ralf Rangnick’s right hand man.
So what does this have to do with Natasha Patel? Well Mitchell spent three years, from 2012 to 2015, at Southampton as its director of recruitment and scouting department. While this may be a coincidence, Patel is not the type of hire they may have made in the past, which usually came from within the American Soccer circle. Couple this with the loan of Josh Sims, a player Mitchell worked with while at Southampton, and the signs point to something bigger.
Red are getting the back of house in order
For too long, the technical staff, from the academy to the first team, has been understaffed. Patel is taking on a position that may have never been filled before in New York. They have had performance analysts, but no one has lead the department. This move does not appear to be in isolation.
The academy has been bolstered with staff on the coaching and administrative side. Now the performance analyses team has someone leading them, and may be built out even more. The scouting team, however, is still understaffed. Expect additional moves as the Red Bulls organize the back of house staff heading into the new year.