New York Red Bulls hire Wolves’ Kevin Thelwell as head of sport

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The New York Red Bulls hired Kevin Thelwell from Premier League side Wolves as the team’s head of sport on Monday.

Thelwell has been with Wolves since 2008 when he was appointed the club’s academy director. He rose to the role of sporting director at a club that finished seventh in the Premier League last season, qualifying for the Europa League in their first campaign back in England’s top flight.

The newly created position at the Red Bulls will charge Thelwell with overseeing the sporting side of the club. Sporting director Denis Hamlett will continue in the same position in what will be his third season in the role. Hamlett will report to Thelwell.

“I am both honored and excited to join the New York Red Bulls,” Thelwell said. “When this opportunity presented itself, I was given the chance to meet people within the organization to learn more about the club and soon realized that this was the right place for me.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work in Major League Soccer and continue the club’s pursuit of competing for MLS Cup.”

There is no change in the structure on the business side. General manager Marc de Grandpre will retain his role and oversight of the club’s business functions.

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Thelwell’s experience as a former academy director gels well with the Red Bulls direction and mentality. The club has made it a priority to nurture homegrown talent, having found success in developing Chelsea’s Matt Miazga (on loan at Reading) and Red Bull Leipzig’s Tyler Adams in recent years, turning both players from academy prospects to USMNT players.

Other players, including midfield mainstay Sean Davis, and emerging talent Omir Fernandez, have successfully blended into the MLS club’s first team.

The Red Bulls have spoken openly about wanting to further integrate their academy and the USL to create a stronger link to the first team.