HANOVER, N.J. – The top goal scorer in MLS last year finally found Mrs. Wright.
Mrs. Wright-Phillips that is.
This past Friday night at the Tides Estate banquet hall in North Haledon, New Jersey, New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips married his now-wife, Leann. Engaged for several years and having already started a family together, the two were unable to get married sooner due to his moving between clubs and then finally settling here over two years ago. It was what he describes as an epic bash after the ceremony, a time together that included much of his family as well as his brother Shaun, who has been training with the club for the past week.
His two brothers served as the best men for the ceremony - “they were amazing” - and he recalls a nice ceremony. He estimates around 140 attended the reception and the ceremony; teammates from the Red Bulls were included among the number as well as many friends that he has made since he moved from England two years ago.
Admittedly, there is still a freshness involved, that new car smell to the marriage. He likes it so far.
“I like to say that now, 'My wife.' I like saying those words. I've changed her name now to 'Wrighty.' I like it. I found it very maturing,” Wright-Phillips told Metro. “I feel like a grown man now. Now I can have a real conversation with Jay over there. Before that, I felt like a kid.”
The 'Jay' he is referring to is Jason Baum, the team's director of media relations, who several years ago married his college sweetheart Andrea. Suddenly, Bradley' stock is on the rise it appears. He's a married man, able to talk about such things with other married men.
Baum smirked. Apparently it is a married man thing.
It sounds like a joke but in a way, it's true. He was ready for this next step in his life and with the Red Bulls not playing last weekend, the time was right.
The family is waiting till the winter for a honeymoon to the Maldives.
He originally proposed four years ago in a move that his wife-to-be wasn't expecting. It was, he recounts, a proposal that took a lot of precision but was worth it. And Bradley showed a bit of romance and a lot of thought in how he proposed.
It was a typical morning for Wright-Phillips, who sent out his wife to get him a breakfast of scrambled eggs, baked beans, french toast, bacon, sausage - “the lot.” As soon as the door closed behind her, he dressed into his best suit and arranged rose petals to create a path from the front door up to the bedroom. Candles were lit.
When she came upstairs, she didn't know what to think but found her soccer-playing husband on one knee with a ring. He proposed; she said yes.
Now he's a married man and loves it. There's a bit of a pep in his step this week, one that perhaps will carry over into Saturday's match at Red Bull Arena against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Scorer of 27 goals last year, tied for the most in the history of the league, he thinks this team is set to turn things around. The Red Bulls have lost three straight games but Bradley is confident that the team is done with their losing ways.
He got the wedding ring this past weekend and now he's hoping for another ring to cap off his year: MLS Cup and a championship ring.
“There will be a second ring. Once we start winning - I think we got all of our losses out of the window,” Bradley said. “So there will be a second ring.”