Pearce bringing sarcasm, skill to Red Bulls

Heath Pearce has fit right in since being traded to the Red Bulls.

The stress of being Heath Pearce is clearly weighing on Red Bulls center back.

Around practice, Pearce is known simply as the “Commissioner” because he counts the passes in the warm-up game known as “Boxes.” Played in a small space outlined with cones, seven players form an outer circle and play keep away with two players in the middle who are in pursuit of the ball. The goal is for the players on the outside to string together 20 consecutive passes while the players in the middle try to take it away.

“I’m just trying to make rules and help people respect them,” Pearce said. “They look to me when they need something and when it is them in a tough position, they get agitated. The crown rests heavy; it is a lose-lose situation for me. I didn’t ask for this responsibility.”

Snarky, sarcastic and a bit of a free spirit, Pearce’s arrival to the Red Bulls helped turn a laughingstock of a defense into a solid unit.

Pearce, nothing short of a revelation in the New York backline, was acquired by the Red Bulls in May in a trade that sent promising young forward Juan Agudelo to Chivas USA.

“I think he’s fit in here quite well,” head coach Hans Backe said. “He’s rather solid back there and makes good decisions and choices and he’s become very much a leader of the back line.”

Even though his role as the commissioner is tongue in cheek, it is a sign that he is coming into his own on this New York team. Whether on the practice field at Montclair State University or during games at Red Bulls Arena, Pearce has stepped up as one of the organizers of the defense.

Defender Markus Holgersson has cited his partnership with Pearce in the middle of the New York defense as a reason for their solid showings. A big reason has been Pearce’s willingness to be vocal and take on the role of bringing the defense together on the same page.

“It’s been a transition from midfield to outside back to now center back over the past two years, and it isn’t that you’re more vocal there but when you’re in the middle of the park, you control more things around you. It’s something I’m trying to get better at, be more effective at. It’s something that I’ve worked on over the past few years,” Pearce said.

“It’s definitely something I had to kind of embrace because I’m not the most vocal person in general. In my career, I’ve always been one of the ‘pull your own weight types’ and it took me until maybe last year to realize the benefit of being someone who organizes and talks a lot. I’ve been trying to implement that this year so we can be stronger defensively.”

Follow Red Bulls writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."