HARRISON, N.J. -- French striker Thierry Henry is going to play for the New York Red Bulls, according to NBA star and friend Steve Nash.
Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler refused to confirm Henry would be signed next week, but the MLS team has said a star player will be introduced on Thursday.
Nash, the Phoenix Suns star guard and soccer enthusiast from Victoria, was much more willing to talk about his buddy, Henry. Nash, part-owner of the MLS-bound Vancouver Whitecaps, said Henry's move to the MLS is "fantastic."
"Thierry is still a world-class player," Nash said. "We've seen players come over before who showed how great they were, but not necessarily every night.
"I think he's still capable of bringing it at the highest level," Nash added. "It's amazing that he's willing to come over at this stage of his career, to be honest. It's a big coup for Red Bull and MLS as well."
For the past two years, there has been speculation that Henry might come to the United States. The 32-year-old former Arsenal and Barcelona star even said about 13 months ago that he would like to live in New York and play in the MLS.
The door opened recently when Henry and Barcelona agreed to part ways, meaning the Red Bulls wouldn't have to pay a transfer fee to sign him.
Soler played it coy Saturday, referring to a star player who would attract fans to the team's new arena.
"You'll never get any names from my mouth until everything is signed and it's stamped and done and we're ready to present him," Soler said.
Nash had no such problems talking about Henry.
"He's had a phenomenal career, played at some of the biggest teams in the world, had a fantastic time at Arsenal and a fantastic time at Barcelona," the two-time NBA MVP said. "When you've been a professional player at the highest level with those kind of expectations since you're 17, sometimes you welcome a change.
"He's accomplished so much. I don't know how many players have won as much -- he's won in England, he's won in Spain, he's won a Champions League, he's won a European cup, he's won a World Cup. He loves America, he loves New York City and is ready for a new challenge. So I'm thrilled I'll be able to see him on a daily basis."
Henry scored only four goals this past season at Barcelona, losing his starting job. Like France, he also struggled in the World Cup. He has been associated with a group of players who led a mutiny and refused to practise after Nicolas Anelka was sent home for an expletive-filled rant aimed at coach Raymond Domenech.