NOTE: On July 15, the New York Red Bull announced the signing of star forward Thierry Henry. When the rumors picked up earlier this year, we talked to Colorado Rapids defender Julien Baudet about the impact he thought fellow Frenchman, Henry, could have on MLS. The article below is from May, 2010:
“I read L’Equipe, the French sports newspaper, and it’s been mentioned a couple of times but nothing like it’s been mentioned by MLS media and websites,” said Colorado Rapids French defender Julien Baudet. “I think everybody knows that he’s going to come, and he’s always mentioned that he would like the New York lifestyle and living in New York. It’s a great advertisement for MLS.”
Should Henry join the Red Bulls this summer, he would be the third Frenchmen in MLS, behind Baudet and Philadelphia forward Sebastian Le Toux.
“He’s a fantastic player, and he’s still young,” said Baudet of Henry. “A player like him, he’s got everything. He’s one of the top, top names in soccer all around the world.”
Baudet, who joined the Rapids in July 2009 from England’s Crewe Alexandra, believes that a player like Henry signing with an MLS club can have a major impact his home country of France.
“When you get a player like Henry on a team, he’s going to generate an awful lot around the team, like (David) Beckham did for the Galaxy,” said the centerback from Grenonble, France. “No one knew (MLS) soccer in England before Beckham came here, and now you see the Galaxy and MLS in England. Henry being in New York is going to be the same for France, with them talking about MLS.”
Baudet began his professional career with Toulouse FC in France in 1998 and has watched Henry play many times, though has never faced him.
“You’re trying to raise your level every time you step onto the field because you want to win all the time,” he said of the prospects of facing a player like Henry. “But when you play against a fantastic player like Henry, I don’t know if you’re going to raise you game, but you’re probably going to be more careful of what you do, because a player like him only needs half a chance and it’s in; or half a yard and he’s behind you.”
Despite the excitement Henry has the potential of generating should he move to MLS, Baudet says it would not affect how he and his Rapids teammates would play against him.
“He’s going to add another dimension to the New York Red Bulls, but as a defender, as a team, we don’t focus on one individual player,” said the 31-year old. “If he doesn’t score and you’re doing well against him, but you lose, there’s no point. So we try not to focus on individual players, we just focus on our game and what we’re good at, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Colorado and New York meet twice in regular season play, first at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 4 and then against at Red Bull Arena on September 11.