New York Red Bulls name Emil Forsberg captain for 2024 season

Emil Forsberg New York Red Bulls
BRADENTON, FL – January 24 Exhibition match between the New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution at IMG Academy on January 24, 2024. (Will Vragovic / New York Red Bulls)

HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls announced on Tuesday that midfielder Emil Forsberg has been named team captain for the 2024 season. 

“I don’t take anything for granted,” the 32-year-old said. “I was happy and it’s a big honor.”

The Swedish international made the jump to New York this winter after nearly a decade in the Bundesliga — Germany’s top flight — with Red Bull Leipzig, where he made 325 appearances across all competitions.

He recorded 71 goals and 68 assists during his stay there, which included two DFB Pokal titles and a run to the Champions League semifinal in 2020. He also made 86 caps for Sweden where he scored 21 goals. He was named his native country’s midfielder of the year four times (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021). 

“He’s an amazing guy,” Red Bulls star defender John Tolkin said. “I think that’s the most important thing. You see some of these bigger players come over and maybe you think it’s going to be easy… but I don’t think it’s easy, necessarily. He’s a leader and I think that goes a very long way.

“For a player of his caliber to be a leader is well and actually want to be here and contribute in the locker room, not just on the field, is super exciting.”

Emil Forsberg Red Bulls
Emil Forsberg (Photo courtesy of the New York Red Bulls)

In New York, Forsberg will be tasked with providing an attacking punch that was sorely missed last season as the Red Bulls were one of the bottom-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference despite making the playoffs for a 14th consecutive season.

“I’m still going to be the man I am, I’m still going to push the guys and be myself,” Forsberg said. “I have to take a bigger responsibility now, as well, but I’m enjoying it. I love it. I’ve been in the business for a long time now.

“I know it’s a lot of pressure in this sport to win games. I’m here to win games.”

Regardless of the playoff success, the team has been bounced from the first round of the playoffs in each of the last five seasons and an MLS Cup remains elusive where Forsberg’s pedigree could help attain new levels of success alongside first-year head coach, Sandro Schwarz.

“The main point was the experience of Emil off the field and on the field so,” Schwarz said. “So this was the reason to say that Emil is the captain.

For more on Emil Forsberg and the Red Bulls, visit AMNY.com