Red Bulls Moves for Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry Mark Change in MLS

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Red Bulls Moves for Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry Mark Change in MLS
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

After a miserable last place finish in 2009, the New York Red Bulls have completely changed the entire organization in 2010.

From getting a new coach in Hans Backe and a new general manager in Erik Solér to moving into the beautiful new Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, the Red Bulls are quickly becoming an organization that almost every Major League Soccer organization should be modeling themselves after.

To further boost the "new Red Bulls," the Red Bulls are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Columbus Crew, a major step forward after a miserable season the year before.

But, New York was still not finished, as they signed Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez to join their side as the Red Bulls look to win their first ever MLS Cup.

With the signing of Henry, the Red Bulls now have another amazing finisher to go alongside Juan Pablo Angel at the top, and Marquez will now provide some much needed stability in the back for a league that has no defender that shares Marquez's qualities.

But these moves are not only fantastic moves for the New York Red Bulls, but also for Major League Soccer.

Picking up Henry and Marquez now allows the league to operate on new mediums that the league could have only dreamed of several years ago.

For starters, Henry is a goal scorer who will help to draw soccer fans and some casual sports fans into arenas across the country.

Henry is still capable of scoring some incredible goals, and he really could have a great ending to his career in MLS.

Meanwhile for Marquez, he will help to tap interest into MLS from a huge Latino population in the New York metropolitan area.

Of course, Marquez was the captain of Mexico in the 2010 World Cup, and can really help sell out Red Bull Arena by getting Latino fans to fill its seats.

But perhaps the most important factor in the signings of Henry and Marquez is the fact that the Red Bulls used their two remaining Designated Player spots on these two.

Of course, MLS wanted to get more clubs to sign Designated Players with the new labor agreement allocating a maximum of three Designated Players as long as the club using the third Designated Player (the Red Bulls) paid a $250,000 luxury tax to be evenly distributed to the other 15 MLS franchises.

Now, clubs will be looking to sign up more top players from around the world as the Red Bulls have just done.

Already this summer, we have witnessed the signings of Blaise Nkufo and Álvaro Fernández to the Seattle Sounders, Branko Bošković to DC United, Mista to Toronto FC and Nery Castillo to the Chicago Fire to join Henry and Marquez in New York.

Now, the Designated Player really is doing what it was originally intended to do by bringing in some fantastic foreign talent into America, and it will help soccer continue to grow after the success of the 2010 World Cup.

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