Sunday, December 30, 2007

Great DCU 2007 Video

Well, no white Christmas, not even a Black and Red one as we still await word on possible gifts (a central defender and midfielder will do), maybe we can buy something with our xmas money from the Perkins transfer. But in lieu of players, here's a fabulous 2007 video recap put together by 'jade1mls' with a little help from the Barra Brava. March is a long way away!

A downloadable hi-fi version is available here:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Veron says he's staying

"he could not fail the fans of Students"

On live TV Veron states he is not going to the United States. On Estudio FĂștbol he stated he would be playing for Estudiantes next season. When asked specifically about the possibility of transferring in the June window he said "right now he was focused on the coming season."

Here is an article on TYC's website, the network carrying the interview.

Basically he says the money was good but he couldn't turn his back on the fans. He hopes to be telling the story of Students ten years from now to the newbies. In other words he has political aspirations at his club.

While Goff is on the road to Cary and hasn't confirmed, I call this one dead. Now let's find another number 10 and a center back

Veron -Done Deal? SI says yes, Argies say no is reporting that Veron and DC United have agreed to terms and an official announcement will come next Wednesday.

SI reports the deal to be worth $3-4 million a year, which fits the 3 year, $10M, figures floating around.

The Argentinian press is reporting he is staying.
OLE has a couple of articles:

"I remain by my people and my companions"

Of course until Steve Goff says its a done deal or he is staying, things are still up in the air.

Remember when there used to be a boring off season in MLS?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Veron and Lopez to DC? - (w/video compilation)

As DCenters illustrates it is impossible to judge or evaluate off season trades and aquisitions in a vacuum. The dust will have to settle before final appraisals can be made, but Veron(32yo) and Lopez(33yo) scare me. I guess Lopez more than Veron.

It looks like Gomez is gone and we'll be replacing him with Veron. Okay I get that.

The Lopez pick up worries me though. Moreno's future is up in the air and we need a striker. Lopez and Veron have played together before for Club and Country. The picture above is from the 2002 World Cup. Seventeen years ago they played in the sixth division of Estudiantes de la Plata for six months with Veron's father as the trainer. I don't think that really qualifies as a natural pairing.

So it looks like Moreno might go and if not he is aging and is best as a late minute sub. It looks like we'll be replacing him with an aging striker who is coming in as a late sub for Racing. I don't get that.

That's why I write a blog.

I really don't want to beat a dead horse with this but Veron has a much cooler nickname. Claudio Lopez is known as "El Piojo", the louse, hardly strikes fear in my heart. My wife teaches in an elementary school and it makes her a little uncomfortable. Oh well.

Hopefully Veron will help DC United add to their trophy case. He has seen his share of hardware during his storied career to this point. Veron has won:

UEFA Cup - 1999
European Super Cup - 1999
Italian Cup - 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006
Italian Serie A - 2000, 2006
Italian Super Cup - 2000, 2005
English Premier League : 2003
Argentine Division: Apertura 2006

Here is some video for your enjoyment. If you are short on time go to the 2:24 mark for a sweet free kick... or the pass at 4:05.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Boswell's Gone


I don't mean just in this picture. Goff is reporting that Boswell has been traded to Houston for GK Zach Wells and a future draft pick. DC is in need of a keeper as Perkins may be heading to Norway. Keep up with all the wheeling and dealing at Soccer Insider.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Remembering the Customer

It seems the biggest problem with businesses today is delivering quality service. We hear and see the failures continually. It seems that the days of "the customer is always right" idiom has died. I actually think the problem is much deeper than that however, I believe the failures in delivering good service are a result of forgetting who the customer is. The Red Bulls provide a prime example today.

The press surrounding the newly redesigned Red Bull Park has been incredible (of course it is like a Bigfoot sighting).Today's SportsBusiness Journal has an article lauding Red Bull management's decision to move the press corp closer to the action.
Don Muret reports:

"The trend in sports is for teams to design press boxes in the upper regions of their new arenas and stadiums. In the NBA, clubs are moving beat writers farther from the court to free up space on the floor so they can sell $1,000 courtside seats.

By contrast, Red Bull Park, when it opens sometime in 2009 in Harrison, N.J., will position the media in the stadium’s sweetest spot, 100 seats at midpitch behind the team benches."

"In addition, stadium architect Rossetti is designing what project officials are calling the “Flash Zone,” a controlled space on the west side near the entrance of the tunnel leading to the locker rooms where reporters can get quick postgame interviews as the players leave the field.

The open-air interview area will be just a few steps from the media seats, McGowan said. Red Bull Park will also contain a traditional interview room beneath the stands and auxiliary press space on the second of two suite levels."

The article goes on:

"“We’ve got a great group of writers in New York, but they really can’t hear and fully capture the atmosphere of the game,” said Red Bulls spokesman Andrew McGowan. “This way, they will be close to the action and be able to better describe it.”"

"McGowan acknowledged that the Red Bulls could have generated significant revenue from selling the media seats as season tickets at a premium price."

So what's wrong with that? Nothing I guess, until you look at an organization that hasn't forgotten who the customer is. DC United has foregone revenue of their own in prime seats at RFK. Giving group rates to the Black and Red's supporter groups Barra Brava, The Screaming Eagles and La Norte, field level at mid field. Not only did they give up full ticket price the Front Office also decided to create a buffer zone behind the Barra Brava sections. The team does not sell tickets there so fans who want to sit and watch the game aren't disgruntled when they can't see over the standing supporters. In David Montgomery"s Post article, "United Force", he recounts how at first drums were banned from RFK.

"But Kevin Payne, president of D.C. United, did understand. "This is not other sports," says Payne. "Rather than have a band getting up occasionally to play a rehearsed song, our fans make their own music." Deny this urge, and the cost to a franchise in passion, atmosphere, noise and ticket sales is incalculable."

At DC United not only is the customer always right, the customer is always the customer.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

BSA College Combine (pics)

I went over to Burke Soccer Association's college combine today because, as my wife informed when I left, I'm addicted. I got there in time to see 60 or 70 players warming up to start playing. I didn't have the benefit of seeing the morning training sessions but I knew the one player I'd take, if I was a coach, five minutes into the games.

Here is his picture:

Now let me tell you how I knew this was the 'guy' five minutes in.

At the beginning of the game he was sent off for improper equipment, no shin guards. He didn't have any with him. He steps off the field, looks up, sees a trash can and pulls a large coffee cup from the bottom. He pops the bottom out of the cup and carefully tears the cup in half. I watch as he grabs a pinnie and wipes the inside clean and slaps them to his shins. He rolls up his socks and is standing at the center line ready to go.

To me this showed: desire to play, creativity, and thinking on his feet, everything you could want in a player!

Turns out this kid is already playing for a college but I won't mention his name or school because his coach didn't think this story was quite as humorous as I did.

Here are a few more pics:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Veron Decision a week away

OLE is reporting that Veron will announce his decision between December 15th and 18th.
I think we should start a pool, on when Steve Goff will have a decision. I'll go with the 10th.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Burke Soccer Association College Combine

BSA has 66 Juniors and Seniors set to train and play in a College Combine this weekend.

Saturday and Sunday schedule:

10:00 - Training Session

12:00 - Lunch @ **Collett Street Recreation Center

2:00 - 11 v 11 Games

Coaches from the following schools will be in attendance:
1. Appalachian State University
2. UNC Asheville
3. Gardner-Webb University
4. Lenoir-Rhyne College
5. Lees-McRae College
6. Davis & Elkins College
7. Tusculum College
8. Methodist University
9. Tennessee Wesleyan
10. King College
11. Montreat College
12. Spartanburg Methodist
13. Coker College
14. Emory & Henry College
15. UNC Pembroke
16. Guilford College
17. Brevard College
18. Mars Hill College

Is Veron the way to go?

Dcenters has some good discussion on this and the economics of it. D's point is that if the price is $30M, DC United could not spend that money elsewhere.But as he points out we will have to make salary cap space for him meaning,someone's gotta go. As far as I am concerned, I'm not too excited, if it was Riquelme I'd be going nuts... but that's just me.

I personally get a pretty big kick out of the fact that Emilio was MVP and won the Golden Boot and is not a Designated Player. I enjoy that despite all of MLS's rule changes and advantages that DC United is the class of the League, not LA or NY. I also worry about signing a slow, aging player with niggling injuries already (you'd think I would have learned from the Blanco signing). I also cannot for the life of me figure out the economics of it. I get it with Becks and Blanco but Veron is a signing that isn't going to put more butts in the seats or spark ridiculous numbers of jersey sales. His play and drive could very well put us over the top for the MLS Cup, but that alone can't be worth $30M can it? Perhaps the payoff is the Argentine talent that would be more willing to sign for a club that Veron plays or had played for.

Another plus that should be posted is his nickname beats the hell out of "Fred" and could rival El Diablo's as United's coolest. La Brujita (Little Witch) could go down in Black and Red history, unless of course his play isn't up to par or he starts whining about the referees like "No-Neck" (then it becomes just too easy for the opponents Supporter Groups).

The bottom line is I'll be happy either way it goes because I've got great confidence in the DC United organization.

Waiting by the Veron

While I patiently wait for news on Juan Sebastian Veron I thought I would do a quick review of the 2007 campaign. (Actually patiently waiting was what I was doing a week ago, currently I probably account for half of Goff's 10,000 daily hits). While the end of the season was emotionally crushing let's take a look at accomplishments of the season that every one seemed so eager to throw away.

DC United brought home the Supporter's Shield for the second year running.
For those of you wishing for single table, I want you to honestly tell me, you would have rather the season ended with a loss to the Crew instead of the two intense games against the Fire.

United was the first team in the League to clinch a playoff spot.
(who would have bet on that at the end of April?)

Emilio wins MLS Honda Most Valuable Player.

Emilio wins Budweiser Golden Boot.

Emilio, Gomez, Olsen MLS Best Xl.

Gomez Al Star First Xl.

Tom Soehn in the running for Coach of the Year.
(Honestly even though I hated his line up decision for Columbus, he deserved it. If it hadn't been Preki he was up against he would have won.)

Moreno breaks all time scoring record.

Troy Perkins MLS Player of the Month in August.

Emilio MLS Player of the Month in September.

Emilio MLS Player of the Week twice.

Olsen Player of the Week once.

Fred Player of the Week once.

Ben Olsen MLS Goal of the Week (week 10)

Jaime Moreno MLS Goal of the Week (week 21)

Luciano Emilio MLS Goal of the Week (week 26)

And let's not forget the FO:

Account Executive of the Year (second consecutive year).

Team Public Relations Award (fourth straight year).

Operations Director of the Year.

Ticket Sales Director of the Year.

Athletic Trainer of the Year.

MLS Equipment Manager of the Year.

Would I have traded it all in for a fifth star this year at RFK?
Probably not, because with a quality organization like this the fifth star isn't that far away.