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Jaime Moreno Talks Longevity and D.C.


A victory parade. (1997 photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for The Post)


I mentioned in the previous post that Jaime Moreno is D.C.'s longest-tenured current athlete, with 13 years of service in the same city (although interrupted by that brief and unfortunate trip north to New Jersey). Turns out that tenure is about to gain some national exposure.

See, Moreno and Cobi Jones are currently tied for the most regular season games played with a single MLS franchise (306, 38 more than Chicago's C.J. Brown). Assuming Moreno plays in one o the next two games, he'll close this season as MLS's standard-bearer for single-club longevity.

"Oh, for sure," Moreno said, when I asked if he takes any pride in that longevity. "I love the team, I love the area, I love the fans. At the same time I feel like people, they gave me the same love, so fans that do appreciate what I've done for this organization, and people upstairs too. I feel that we have that respect, and it's nice, it's nice to get recognized. But at the same time...you earn it. I've worked all my career basically on this team."

He's also nearly lived in D.C. as long as he has in his native Bolivia, which he left at the age of 19 to play in England. When he was signed by MLS and allocated to D.C. in 1996, he figured that would just be a short stop before a return to the big time.

"My plan was to come here a couple years and go back to Europe," he said. "I do regret not to take that chance when I was in England, you know? It's a big thing that's gonna stick in my mind for the rest of my life, because I knew and I know that I could play there then. But definitely I wasn't ready for that challenge."

Instead, though, he made a home in D.C. If you don't follow United, this all might not mean too much to you, but if you do, it's hard to think of this franchise without Moreno.

"Certainly back then he was The Man, as he has been The Man here for a long time," said Ben Olsen, in his 12th year with the club. "I think his accomplishments here are second to none. He's got the rings, he's got the goals, he's got the assists, and he's got the adoration of our fans and the appreciation of our fans. That's it. That's what you want when you have a career. He's done it all."

To put his longevity in another way, here are some of the D.C. sports institutions Moreno pre-dates: Ted Leonsis as Caps owner, Daniel Snyder as Skins owner, FedEx Field, the Verizon Center, the Nats, the Mystics, the D.C. Sports Bog. I asked Moreno whether the club and its place in the D.C. sports landscape has changed over his 13 years.

"Yeah, it has changed in a good way and also, not in a bad way, but definitely it's a team right now where you feel a lot of pressure to win championships, and to be where we think we belong," Moreno said. "I don't think this year that's been the case, so with our up and downs, it's not something that you plan. Always when you start preseason, your goal is to win the championship, to achieve important things in your career. But that's life. What can you do? You give it your best shot, and sometimes it doesn't work."

And so what comes next, when he finally stops playing?

"Who knows man," Moreno said. "I'm planning [to stay in D.C.], but you don't know what comes next. Definitely this is the area where my kids grow up, but then anything could happen and then you've got to move."

But D.C. United and Moreno will always be linked. I was talking to Santino Quaranta--who has himself played part of eight seasons in D.C.--about his well-tenured teammates, Olsen and Moreno.

"[They're] not old, but they've been here a long time," he said. "When you think of D.C., it's just them two guys. They're gonna be legends, you know? You know what the thing is with these guys, they're always gonna be involved with this club, coaching, development, whatever it would be. You just see that coming in the future."


A young Moreno faces off with a young Soehn. (1998 photo by Rafael Crisostomo for The Post)

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 16, 2009; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C.'s Longest Tenured Athletes
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Comments

It's going to be hard to imagine DCU without Jaime and Benny, whether that happens this year or next. But the club and the fans have been blessed to have two guys like that who truly bleed the colors and have an actual love for the team.

Posted by: the_slammer | October 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

In other news, the Skins still stink.

Posted by: Megskin | October 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Jaime Moreno moment is his goal from the 2004 Eastern Conference final. We took a short corner, and Moreno shaped up like he was going to cross the ball. However, he had spotted a gap to shoot through at the near post. Moreno shot, it was a goal before anyone really knew what happened. It was perfect: he had outsmarted everyone on the field by doing something equal parts unexpected, unconventional, and simple.

Question: Santino Quaranta already has 8 seasons with United, and he's only 25. If he plays the rest of his career in DC, where would he sit amongst all-time tenured DC athletes? I know you have an intern for this kind of stuff.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | October 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

That second photo is great.

Posted by: sitruc | October 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It's sometimes hard to comprehend Q has been with DC so long since he is young and especially since he has been around the league a bit too.

Posted by: sitruc | October 16, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Chest,

I believe Darrell Green was with the Redskins for 20 years, so Tino would likely need to play until he was 37 to beat that.

Posted by: Josh86 | October 16, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The United are certainly not making a very strong case for linking continuity to winning.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | October 16, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

"Santino Quaranta"


Man, what is the deal lately with people mispronouncing Santana Moss' name?

Posted by: freakzilla | October 16, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Guess we're finally just joining the rest of the effin' dregs in THE DC then huh, PB?
You still get less respect than the dog crap stuck on the bottom of a GW freshman who claims to be a Sounders fan. Chump Numero Uno!

Posted by: DadRyan | October 16, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The United are certainly not making a very strong case for linking continuity to winning.

Posted by: PowerBoater69
---------------------------

Unlike, say, the Redskins? Since '96 United has been much more successful than any other DC pro team. They've had two consecutive sub-par seasons now but we are fortunate to have such a successful team here.

Thanks, Jaime.

P.S. - Someone will say it so I might as well; It's not "the United," just "United."

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 17, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

VIVA JAIME

Posted by: colerwilson | October 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The United were highly successful and they have kept many of their key pieces that led them to their success, clearly at this time they can no longer be considered a winning team, hence my point that continuity has not worked out for them in this case.

-----------------------------------

"P.S. - Someone will say it so I might as well; It's not 'the United,' just "'United.'"

No offense, but in addition to your reading comprehension being a bit off, so is the clarity in your writing. That statement makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | October 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Its been so long that I had almost forgotten that they did not have color photography back when MLS first started.

Posted by: Palin-McCain2012 | October 17, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

PowerBoarter69 must enjoy the 'The United' responders. Please don't.

As to Tino's naming of players who will be thought of when thinking of United, I'd add Marco Etcheverry. My own pantheon also includes Raul Diaz Arce, Jeff Agoos and Ryan Nelsen.

Great interview and story structure, Dan.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Seeing Jamie against Soehn makes me thing of Giggs and Scholes still playing while their longtime teamates Bruce and Sparky have already established fine coaching tenures. I hope Jamie sticks with DC United in one way or another after he retires.

Posted by: M__N | October 19, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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