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United Loses Needham

Jay Needham, a rookie from SMU who was supposed to add depth to United's thin back line, has turned down United's developmental contract offer, has left training camp and will sign with Puerto Rico, a second-division team in the USL. (Yes, sadly, in some cases, you can make more money in the minors than in MLS.) United will retain his MLS rights.

He's the second player drafted by DCU to go another route. Goalkeeper Luis Robles signed with Kaiserslautern in Germany instead of MLS.

So what does DCU do now? Apparently their player-acquisition focus has shifted from the attack to defense, and there's a chance a young candidate will arrive in the next week. They're still hoping to add another forward, but at the moment, defensive reinforcement has become the priority.

When training camp opened a few weeks ago, here's what Soehn thought of Needham: "He's a smart player. It's going to be interesting to see how he fills the role. He reminds me a little bit of Bobby [Boswell] when we first got Bobby. They have similar qualities, as far as how he reads the game and how he communicates."

By Steve Goff  |  February 15, 2007; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Puerto Rico plays in the 1st Division. MLS salaries are disgraceful for players at the bottom of the heap.

Posted by: Demko | February 15, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes, PR is first division within the USL, but second division in the overall structure of U.S. pro soccer (MLS is first). Perhaps I should re-work that sentence.

Posted by: Goff | February 15, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

what a disgrace! I hate to say it, but sometimes MLS = Mickey Mouse.

Posted by: jj | February 15, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

ouch! it sounded like he was going to be a solid addition in the vein of Boswell.

Posted by: pat | February 15, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

this is a troubling development - MLS definitely needs to address players at the lower ends of the wage scale.

Since DC United retains his rights, can they sign him later on in this season?

We have, by my count, a grand total of 1 susbstitute defender (John Wilson). DC United's off-season hasn't been all that stellar. There are a lot of players going out the door and only a few coming in. Wouldn't it have been easier to sign Needham for 20-30K instead of trying to bring in a defender from overseas?

Posted by: Diego R. | February 15, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, that is very true (Mickey Mouse), but once you get in the USL - how many guys get the call up and move on to the MLS - way too much paper work, therefore take your bumps the first year and make an impact and move up the ranks in the MLS. Get your foot in the door (per say) and don't get hidden in the USL.

Posted by: dp | February 15, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Whatever dude, we don't Needham.

Posted by: Joe S. | February 15, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I hope he has more success than CJ Klaas with this strategy

Posted by: anon | February 15, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I liked what I had seen of Needham. I guess the past two weeks suggested that he wasn't even ready to contribute as a backup on a thin backline right now. Otherwise, he could have been offered a rookie minimum.

Posted by: Dave Lifton | February 15, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Needham can play in MLS; he was one of the few DCU rookies with the maturity to contribute in some manner right away. DCU decided to offer him a developmental contract (between 12.9 and 20K), which was clearly less than the PR deal.


Posted by: Goff | February 15, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't they give him a roster spot and commensurate salary offer? The team is thin at the back with the loss of Prideaux. Maybe this rumored player "with a pedigree" will be a defender.

This is very frustrating, and frankly MLS and United should be embarrassed that a player with Needham's qualities chose USL-1 over them. I don't care how they spin this one, they will need to do right by the entry-level players or else the trickle will become a flood.

The Beckham money has probably pushed them over the edge.

Posted by: Eric | February 15, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

This is bad news. It reflects badly on DC if they were not willing to offer a senior spot (and money) if they expected Jay to play a significant role this season.

Kudos to PR for taking the risk of drafting Needham and putting pressure on MLS. If MLS regularly begins losing draft picks in this manner, it will pressure them to improve developmental salaries. It is bad enough with elite youngsters going to Europe (good on them if they can get a job), but it is a suggestion that MLS needs to re-think their lower-level salary structure if they are going to start losing projectible US talent to the second division.

Posted by: Liverpool_SC | February 15, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps Jay spent some time talking to Bobby Boswell and noting his salary after 2 sterling seasons (though in this case DC is TRYING to offer a compromise salary to Boz) and decided "no thanks".

Posted by: Liverpool_SC | February 15, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Steven, any indication that Stokes will soon be offered a contract? Is this an avenue that the team is prepared to go down?

Posted by: jared | February 15, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Once again, we're seeing why a 2.3 Million Salary cap hurts MLS. Raise the thing to 3.5-5 million.

Posted by: Ro | February 15, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The other bit of irony in this is that the only other defender in camp who may be considered as a possible back-up is David Stokes who, if they kept, would have to be signed to a senior roster spot and salary. And if they did that, he'd be making more than what they offered Needham.

They must think Stokes' is more worthy of a senior roster spot than Needham, otherwise they are really wasting David's time by still keeping him around just to have an extra body in practice.

This is a stupid bit of business by the team... but what's even more ridiculous (other than the ridiculously low reserve minimum), is how low the maximum salary for reserve players is in the first place.

Posted by: swwj | February 15, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

If there's a bad injury or two on the back line and DC needs to bring in some help, they can lure Needham off PR with a senior roster contract, right? If so this, while bad, isn't a disaster.

Posted by: Talion | February 15, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

MLS just sucks, face it guys!

Posted by: Tony | February 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the big deal? So a second division side wanted a player more than United and was willing to pay the money to get him. So what?

He probably sees it as a chance to play more as a starter too.

Posted by: maxf736 | February 15, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

You can't expect to pay a individual in the US 20,000/yr and get upset when they go some where else. I'm glad they are raising the minimal wage.

Posted by: Tony | February 15, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

These low salaries are what you get when you have a monopolistic league like the single entity MLS. The league signs all contracts (except in some limited circumstances, the players' contracts are not between the player and the individual teams) which restricts player movement and supresses player salaries.

Eventually, with the increased popularity of soccer in the U.S., MLS is going to have to alter its structure, or at least its salary/player movement structure, to be a viable first division league.

Posted by: DE | February 15, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This is such a bunch of b/s! Steve, have you anything about the whereabouts of Ritchie Kotschau? Did he really get released by Toronto FC? If so, we should really pick him up...even though he's probably used to the 4-man backline, it's still nice to have a vet on the bench.

Posted by: Dave | February 15, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Someone go wake up DCU and the league: add three more guys per MLS team (13 teams) at minimum rather than developmental.

Economics:
1) 40 guys (rounding up): Now at an average of $14K = $560K/year.
2) Move them to $28K/year = $1.12M/year. ($560K/year additional)
3) Out of 40, a few end up as good as Boswell and Perkins. Sell one...I bet you get more than $560K.
4) You improve the level of the league in the meantime.
5) You aren't a freakin joke of a league...imagine what happens when, on Thursday night with Beckham, some guy that makes $12K scores a goal. You think Joe Fan will think that's cool?

Posted by: top 5 | February 15, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

raising the salary cap won't help much. They need to raise the senior roster to 20 players so teams can offer spots to both veteran backups and projects, not have to choose between them. It's not atypical for players of his age to get experience in the second division in most any country. MLS has had teams loaning 1-2 players to USL teams from the developmental roster for the last few years. So this isn't a whole lot different from DC signing him and sending him out to Puerto Rico for a year. MLS needs to be smarter here in making sure that if DC gets some injuries, Needham would be available. Or if he plays extrememly well, they won't face a transfer fee from Puerto Rico. Raise the senior roster 2 spots, and the cap 60k and MLS will be a stronger league. Not the biggest issue out there, but the time has come to make the change (if you want to sign Beckham and grab people's attention, it's a small investment for the future). Around the time of contraction MLS went from 20 to 18 senior roster spots to save money. Teams ought to have 22 players for the first team on decent salaries, so with generation adidas + 20 senior roster spots MLS might get there.

Posted by: anon | February 15, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

So many of you have already said it perfectly (anon). The league needs to return to at least 20 senior roster spots.

Posted by: sitruc | February 15, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

What a joke! I don't care if the guy wanted to leave, thats fine, but the fact that United basically got outbid by a Div. 1 side on a promising draft pick is a joke! The front office can't talk their way out of this one. There's no explaining it. I don't care what they say to try and smooth this one over, the fact is, they dropped the ball on this one. Sure he just a rookie back up, and sure this is not the biggest story/blunder of this offseason, but now we must retract our search for another winger/forward and focus on defense. What a waste.

This team is becoming a boat with too many leaks... AND THE SEASON HASN'T EVEN STARTED YET!

Good luck to the kid, I hope for his sake this gamble pays off. I don't see how he thinks there is much of a future down there no matter what the pay, but good luck.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

With Needham gone, doesnt that leave the door wide open for David. Oh man, this could be wondeful. Stokes will prove everyone wrong and really be a great force off the bench as well as starting games with Bos or another one of the line needs a break. I think finally Stokes will show his potential

Posted by: YEEEEE | February 15, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, seriously. We don't sign one rookie prospect and the team's in the dumper? Look up, the sky's not falling.

Posted by: Beaker | February 15, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

While we're at it, lets just raise salaries for everyone and give fans free beer. Get a grip. The salaries are what they are. Stop whining about low salaries and be happy we have a league at all. It's not like the league is tearing up the tv ratings yet.

Anyway, If the guy is any good he'll show it in the USL. DC keeps his rights and can pick him up later.

Posted by: Dave | February 15, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

many of us are not saying MLS has to pay the players more or should give everyone a raise. just that MLS should pay attention to the rising percent of new prospects that are looking elsewhere. It may actually be worth the expense in the long run to get some players under contract. When summer comes and players are pushing hard to play 90 minutes, teams are depleted from injuries and national team callups, and then Beckham arrives with some new viewers tuning in - it'd be nice to make sure the depth is reasonable. Maybe actually worth it to spend 60k extra per team. I'm not advocating MLS lose more money, just that bumping the senior roster to 20 may actually be good for the bottom line in the long run.

Posted by: anon | February 15, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

gotta second dave up there - where's all this money for bigger salaries coming from? sierra mist? the venerable beverage can't do it all by themself. it's time for the big beer money to step in. i, for one, will do my part with that particular product.

Posted by: fever | February 15, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

they should do away with the draft. then teams could sign based on need and the process would be more fair to both parties.

Posted by: peter | February 15, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

FYI:

Developmental contracts are based on a monthly rate, but for simplicity purposes, a developmental player will earn either:

-- $12,900

or

-- 17,700

Needham would've received 17.7, with an opportunity to be upgraded if he performed well.

Posted by: Goff | February 15, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the amount these developmental players receive is putrid, but necessary at this point in time. In order to control to gradual growth of the league and avoid certain NASL disasters, this was the direction MLS decided to take their league. While I can't blame Needham for going with more money, I also feel it is not the end of the world. We have his rights when he develops. I bring to question his priorities. I know DC offered a small wage, but he had the chance to play in international competitions as well as in a league well above USL in quality. Many players have survived on this salary before, why would Needham not be able to? It is his loss of a chance at far superior experience. As I stated earlier, this is not the end of the world. Best of luck to the guy.

Posted by: The Big VA | February 15, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the amount these developmental players receive is putrid, but necessary at this point in time. In order to control to gradual growth of the league and avoid certain NASL disasters, this was the direction MLS decided to take their league. While I can't blame Needham for going with more money, I also feel it is not the end of the world. We have his rights when he develops. I bring to question his priorities. I know DC offered a small wage, but he had the chance to play in international competitions as well as in a league well above USL in quality. Many players have survived on this salary before, why would Needham not be able to? It is his loss of a chance at far superior experience. As I stated earlier, this is not the end of the world. Best of luck to the guy.

Posted by: The Big VA | February 15, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

MLS should raise the developmental salaries and the senior roster minimum. That has been clear for some time. However, the following things have been lost in this uproar over a rookie that no one has seen play MLS soccer yet:

1. For Puerto Rico, Needham is likely a starter. For DC, he's a definite backup. Thus, PR will spend a larger percentage of their transfer budget than DC to get him. If they offered him $30K, DC probably shouldn't be matching it. It's not like we can throw the cap rules out the window. An offer like that basically handcuffs an MLS team when it comes to a player like Needham.
2. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is low. The cost of living in DC is quite high. Even if the money is the same, $17K goes a lot further in Puerto Rico than up here, where it is about equivalent to the cost of a sandwich.
3. DC is a city built on a swamp, clogged with traffic, and plagued by oppressively humid summers. Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island that people vacation to. If I was anywhere near good enough to play in the USL, I would be moving heaven and earth to catch on with either Puerto Rico or the Bermuda team.

It sucks that we'll have to go get another defender to replace him, but it's not the end of the world. We could even pick up someone based on another MLS team's bonehead mistake. That's how we got Walker for nothing, even as Chivas USA in '05 had MLS "greats" like Matt Taylor and Arturo Torres up front.

The sky isn't falling.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | February 15, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You know, maybe what happened here is that Needham simply couldn't have afforded to play for United's reserves on a sub $20 K contract. In other words, his situation may may well have been like one of those Capitol Hill unpaid internships or low paying Capitol Hill starter jobs where if your family can't afford or isn't willing to help you out, you have to just forget about it and get a job where you can make enough money to earn your keep.

It's a shame that we lost Needham because Bozilla will likely spend a good chunk of this coming summer with the USMNT and because we probably will lose Bozilla to a European club within the next couple of years. I sure hope that United is beginning to think about grooming an eventual replacement for Boswell because I'm afraid that we're going to need one someday in the not too far off future.

Posted by: tallguy | February 15, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

what I'm saying isn't that all the developmental players deserve to be payed better. 3rddegree had Needham projected as first round talent. I'm not talking big money required by MLS. Just allow team to take the money they already have and split in 20 ways instead of 18 ways IF THEY WANT. At a certain point it's important for the standard of play to have adequete depth on teams. That may mean paying more than 18 players on your team that aren't semi-pro. With generation adidas teams usually get 2 extra players paid fully professional, though sometimes they're years away projects (Besagno for example). MLS has managed to get pro-talent at semi-pro wages with some of the developmental players (and fairly so). I'm just saying that if this shifts towards losing enough of these players to USL and Europe, MLS may need to consider upping the pay for a couple more reserve players (not all of them). May actually be worth the investment. I'm not even saying they necessarily have to up the total payroll, just the senior roster limit. If they were to up the payroll 33k-17.7k for 2 spots is ~30k per team per year. Just something to consider.

Posted by: anon | February 15, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

As a DCU fan since the start, I'm sorry that it didn't work out for Needham with DCU but if my can't have him then as a rabid Islanders' fan, we will welcome him with open arms. Our club can always use a good defender. It would have been much easier for me to see him play with the DCU Reserves or occasionally appearing with the first team but I will still be able to track his progress with the Islanders and hospefully see him play a couple times this season. As someone else posted (Big Va I think)- there are some definte advantages to picking the Islanders over DCU for a player at his stage. I have't talked to anyone in the Islanders' front office so I don't pretend to know the terms of the deal--but I can tell you that he will be supplied with a place to live, access to a car and he will be surrounded by a bunch of hotties because about 40% of our game attendance are women. In addition, he signed a one year deal or signed a contract with an out if he cathces on with an MLS or Euro club then it could very well be a free transfer. Another option during the winter is that he could play in another league outdoors on loan or maybe he would be the first Islanders' player that they let pick up some extra change playing in the MISL (can't do that playing in MLS). Needham might still end up at DC or MLS later this year in October or next year when all is said and done.

Posted by: Jay | February 15, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Tallguy, you're right on. Boswell will likely be on the MNT bench this summer for Copa America, etc (not to mention B. Carroll). And he'll probably have Euro suitors in a year or two. We need a reliable body in central defense, sooner rather than later. Namoff, Erpen, Wilson can handle a game or two, but not a month of games. I don't mention Stokes because I'm quite certain he only adds to this problem.

Posted by: Eric Mondero | February 15, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

$17,700 a year - by my calculations when converting that salary to a per/hour wage assuming working 50 weeks a year at 40 hours a week equals $8.80 dollars an hour. This is what you can make at Starbucks. In most cities of the United States, this would not even qualify as a living wage. Heck, everyone (not just soccer players) need a raise at this end of the spectrum. Democrats, raise minimum wage! and DC United - do the same as well and keep your promising players! This is sad....

Posted by: Rafa | February 15, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

In the past few months DC United has a) raised its ticket prices b) gotten a new ownership group and c) tried to milk David Beckham's August appearance for all that it is worth. In return, we have signed Emilio. Now I know Emilio might very well be a great player. We have, however, in the past year cut or traded Eskandarian, Rimando, Quaranta, and Donnet. That's probably equal to $600,000 a year in salaries. DC United has not re-signed either Bobby Boswell or Christian Gomez, who could very well be our two best players.

The whole thing makes you wonder if Davis, Laetnerr, Kevin Payne and the rest of the ownership team are much more interested in cutting costs and selling real estate in SE DC rather than building a winning club

Posted by: Alan | February 15, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

How could I forget Freddy Adu in the list of high-paid DC United players who were cut and/or traded? Now, I don't know how much DC United actually paid of his salary but he was definitely one of the higest paid players in the league?

Not to over emphasize the point but Brandon Prideaux is gone too. And you might ask, Brandon Prideaux? But his salary 'demands' were probably more than 3X greater than Needham's. Come on, DC

Posted by: Alan | February 15, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, of course the sky isn't falling because of the Needham non-signing. But I think this is question of respect. Does the DC United front office respect the club and does the DC United front office respect us, the fans? I thought this would've have been one of the biggest off-seasons in DC United's history considering the four/five competitions we are in this year: CONCACAF Champions Cup, MLS Regular Season, MLS Cup, SuperLiga, Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. But instead, we approach 2007 with a roster composed of a much lower cost for the owners and much less depth for the next ten months

Posted by: Diego R. | February 15, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

well it's still almost 2 months until the MLS regular season starts so I wouldn't pass final judgement on the front office yet (though if the team fails against Olimpia, that's an issue). The team is in the process of trying to give Perkins, Boswell, and Gomez raises, so that's where some of the money went. Come opening day the front office will have to defend not having a senior roster spot for Needham and ought to bring in 2 more significant signings or else explain where all the cap space went.

Posted by: anon | February 16, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"While we're at it, lets just raise salaries for everyone and give fans free beer."

Brilliant idea, I second this.

Posted by: Joe S. | February 16, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

I for one would prefer to see MLS investing in good, solid players -- and making the league financially attractive to good young American athletes, than in spending its limited bucks on glitz like Beckham. No professional, first division league can earn much respect outside the sport with $12.9 and $17.7 salaries in this day and age.

Posted by: Dave II (not the earlier poster) | February 16, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Good for Jay, Good for PR, good for the USL, good for MLS. What I think everyone is missing here is that market forces are starting to naturally take the game in the US where it needs to go. Money is what drives this sport: sad but true. If Jay can get more money in PR, then that's where he needs to be. Beckham, anyone?

And if PR (or Atlanta, Miami, Rochester) is willing to invest money to get better, good for them, its about time. Maybe the next time a USL side "upsets" an MLS side in the Open Cup, we won't be scratching our heads. It will be more in line with the English model, and hopefully one day we will have promotion battles, with the little guys with the onions to spend a little earning the right to play in the top league. I think this is a great development.

One last thing: it's probably better Needham didn't stay, he's a stinkin' Cowboys fan!

Posted by: grotus | February 16, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

God forbid a kid just out of college has to earn a living like everyone else. He gets to play soccer for a living... i'd be quite happy to switch positions with him.

Also, I don't thing raising our lowest salaries are going to bring respect. Im sure starting salaries in Saudi Arabia are pretty hefty, but they don't exactly have a powerhouse league.

Finally.... who makes 18K at starbucks? Are you kidding?


Posted by: Dave | February 16, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

From the Goff article:

"Needham wanted a senior roster contract, which would have paid him at least $30,000, but United was only willing to offer a developmental deal worth $17,700."

I think developmental contracts should be worth more, its not as if Needham didnt know that the league doesnt pay much going into this. What made him think he was going to get a senior contract?

I dont really like the structure but it is what it is and I cant change it personally. And neither can Needham, so good for him for getting paid more and playing more. If he doesnt want to wear the shirt, he can go.

Posted by: the cheat` | February 16, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

it's not unreasonable for Needham to think he might get a senior contract. he had the resume of college accomplishments and was considered by some the top senior defender (at least top 5). It looks like about Harrington, Cunliffe, Findley, and Evans are getting senior spots (MLS isn't exactly forthcoming with this info), possible Thompson. Greg Dalby probably would if he would sign. In past years MLS lost very few guys considered top 4 round talent. This year there may be a trend away from that, at least there are more guys trialing overseas than before. Needham, Guy, Hall, Robles, Konopka, Dalby, Purdy, Omekanda were probably all top-40 senior talent. Not as big an issue, but the foreign college players are looking elsewhere too - and Hunter, Jarrod Smith, Roberts, O'Neil, Byrne aren't showing up yet. Guys in the first round and a half are usually sure bets at pro careers. Guys in the next 3-4 rounds have a chance, and it's among these guys that MLS may start to lose out (and at the top of this tier). Look at the 3rddegree rankings, MLS looks set to lose goalkeepers #2-5, defenders #4-5, midfielders #2, #7, #12, #13 and forwards #6, 7, & #12 (Charlie Davies was consensus #1 if available). In the last year Europe has lured Kamani Hill, Robbie Rogers, Preston Zimmerman, Gabe Ferrari, Nevon Subotic. It may be cheaper to sign them now than later. I'm just saying if the trend continues, MLS might WANT to consider doing something to compete better for these guys services.

Posted by: anon | February 16, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

and remember that teams in cap trouble that can't afford to fill out the 18-man senior roster do sometimes put rookies on the roster. Last year - Chivas with Bornstein, Columbus with Moss, KC with Wahl, NY with Camp, and Dallas with Justin Moore (who was signed pre-draft). In 2004 DC had Ara and Gros on the senior roster from the start.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 16, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree, MLS needs to do something about getting these developmental contracts bumped up to something like a living wage for a major metro area. Granted, $ goes much further in KC than it does in DC, but $17,000 just isnt very much.]

DC is obviously going to be looking furiously to get another D player, but depending on what happens, we could see a lot more of J. Carroll on the bench for the big kid games.

Posted by: the cheat | February 16, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree, MLS needs to do something about getting these developmental contracts bumped up to something like a living wage for a major metro area. Granted, $ goes much further in KC than it does in DC, but $17,000 just isnt very much.]

DC is obviously going to be looking furiously to get another D player, but depending on what happens, we could see a lot more of J. Carroll on the bench for the big kid games.

Posted by: the cheat | February 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I have to imagine that MLS will have to start paying SuperDraft picks more than 17,700. If not, most good players are going to choose alternate routes to professional soccer than MLS.

Posted by: Tim | February 17, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

For anyone that saw Needham play in the DC game with Columbus in Bradenton, you must have saw that his departure is not a loss at all. He was too slow to handle any foward with decent speed, and instead chose to grab a couple jerseys and get thrown out of the game. He struggled with service from the back, and in fact, I don't remember seeing him complete one more than 10 yards. Finally, I think the only words I heard him say from the back were when he was complaining to the ref about the second yellow card. Don't sweat the loss of this one.

Posted by: aa | February 20, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

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