NEW YORK (Thursday, June 31, 2011) – New York Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe will lead the MLS All-Stars against Manchester United in the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 27 at Red Bull Arena (Live on ESPN2, Galavision, and TSN at 8:30 p.m. ET).
Major League Soccer selected Backe for competitive considerations -- he does not have to travel to and from this summer’s showcase event, he is familiar with the facilities, and his team plays at home on July 23. These factors provide advantages to the MLS All-Stars as they prepare to face the English Premier League champions and prevent other MLS coaches from missing any training sessions with their clubs.
Backe earned the 2010 MLS Coach of the Year award after the Red Bulls matched the best season-to-season improvement in MLS history, going from last place in 2009 to first in the Eastern Conference in 2010. Backe, 59, has almost 30 years of professional coaching experience; for his bio, click here.
In addition, MLS today unveiled the selection process for the 2011 MLS All-Star team. Fans will be able to vote three ways – online, via text message, or on Twitter – for the players they believe should face Manchester United. Fans will select 11 All-Stars – known as the “First XI” – but the coach will choose the starting lineup.
A total of 32 All-Stars are named each year, per the collective bargaining agreement. The process in 2011 is similar to previous years, as media, fans, players, the All-Star coach and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all contribute to the final roster. The fan ballot and details about how to vote on all three platforms will be unveiled June 8.
The 32 players named 2011 AT&T MLS All-Stars will be selected in four phases:
1) Ballot creation: A select media panel will determine the field of players – six players per team – who are most deserving of consideration for this year’s All-Star Game. Those 108 players will be eligible for fan voting.
The ballot of eligible players nominated by the media panel will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on June 8.
2) Fan voting: Beginning June 8 and ending July 5, fans will select the “First XI” All-Stars. Fans can vote via three digital platforms:
a. At MLSsoccer.com: Vote for your starting lineup of 11 players, beginning June 8.
b. Via mobile texting (SMS): Vote for one player per text message with specific instructions to be announced June 6. Each vote will count equally with those submitted online in determining the First XI, but the player who receives the most text votes will be guaranteed one of those 11 slots.
c. Twitter: Specific instructions for voting via Twitter will be announced June 8.
The First XI will be announced Sunday, July 10, likely on ESPN during halftime of the Portland-Seattle game that begins at 1 p.m. PT.
3) Coach & Commissioner selections: The MLS All-Star head coach will select 18 players to the gameday roster. Players named to the First XI are eligible for selection to the gameday roster by the coach. MLS Commissioner Don Garber will select two players.
The coach and Commissioner selections will be announced on Monday, July 18.
4) Player selections: Once the final gameday roster has been announced, voting by MLS players will determine the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the CBA (known as the “inactive roster”).
The final list of 32 All-Stars (4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders and 7 forwards) will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on July 25.