The Luke Rodgers ordeal finally seems to have come to an end as the New York Red Bulls revealed on Friday that their second-leading scorer from 2011 has been denied a work visa. As a result of that decision by U.S. immigration officials, the Red Bulls and Rodgers mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
In addressing the situation, the Red Bulls released this statement: "After going through the entire immigration and appeals process, Luke’s P-1 Visa application has unfortunately been denied by the U.S. government for now. We have spoken with Luke about potential options and have mutually decided that it would be in all parties’ best interests to terminate his current MLS contract so he could play elsewhere. However, we will also continue to track his progress this year while working with immigration officials with the goal that he could join the Red Bulls sometime in the future."
This undoubtedly comes as a blow to the Red Bulls, even if they had made moves over the offseason with this possibility in mind. Rodgers had nine goals and three assists in just 23 appearances last year. Only Thierry Henry, who scored 14 times, had more goals on the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls did acquire Kenny Cooper during the offseason, presumably because they knew Rodgers' return was less than guaranteed. But the team had expressed optimism that Rodgers would be back and, at one point, even announced he had rejoined the team in Mexico.
For more on the situation, be sure to check out Red Bulls blog Once a Metro.