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Morning Update

*MLS will likely announce its Generation Adidas signings (teenagers and college non-seniors) today, and don't be surprised if you see 17-year-old forward-midfielder Alex Nimo on the list. Read his extraordinary story from Liberian refugee camp in Ghana to Portland, Ore., to the U.S. under-17s right here.

*Jay-Jay Okocha's name has resurfaced in MLS, this time with apparent interest from the Columbus Crew, a well-placed source tells me. Okocha, 34, has played in three World Cups for Nigeria and is currently with Hull City in the English Championship. Last year he was in talks with Real Salt Lake.

*Latin American reports say Peruvian goalkeeper Jose Carvallo and Colombian defender Gonzalo Martinez are headed to D.C. United, but I have not heard a word about it on this end. GM Dave Kasper says he can't comment on rumors. Stay tuned.....

*John Spencer takes himself out of the running for the Chicago Fire job, presumably clearing the way for Denis Hamlett to finally get a head coaching position.

Theo Walcott's fortunate goal against Spurs:


By Steve Goff  |  January 10, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lopez Possibly Coming to MLS
Next: MLS Signings Set

Comments

Mark McCullers, Crew President, said that the DP they were chasing was European. Ja-Jay was fabulous is he a second target or did Mark forget that he was Nigerian?
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2008/01/09/crew.html

Posted by: jgildea | January 10, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Would love to go watch Jay jay make some spectacular non scoring plays for the Crew.

Posted by: Matt | January 10, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Goff,
Chicago is getting Best Buy as a shirt sponsor. Any word on the United sponsor? Would love to know.

Posted by: DJC | January 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

What a blessing that Clive Charles found Nimo. That's a great story, and yet another reason I love this country.

Thanks for the link, Steve.

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 10, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: UVA-United | January 10, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Either chicago is underpaying or Houston is overpaying (ala Mr. Snyder) for coaching. Either way, it's no wonder those teams have such different fortunes.

Posted by: Looking Dangerous | January 10, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Maybe DC can get Buy More.

Posted by: RK | January 10, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I really don't get MLS recent moves (following the rumors I read).

Do these people (the investors-operators) want MLS to become an important championship? I'm not talking about top 5, clearly, but a championship with a credibility.

$2,1 million salary cup is not just ridicolous, is offensive. As are most of the names I'm reading about (boiled players like Okocha and Lopez, or just past their prime like Veron and Figo, who would be good if the came together with younger players).

I really thought 2008 and 2009 were going to be the years of the "big jump" for MLS. I was wrong, unfortunately.

Posted by: Franco S - Playitusa.com | January 10, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

S-Mart, anybody?

Posted by: antonio | January 10, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Would you rather MLS overspend and collapse, ala NASL?

Posted by: RK | January 10, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The expectations some people have is amazing. The safe and smart goal is to grow the league slowly, get it on TV, get revenue for that, increase ticket sales and build soccer specific stadia. All of which they are acoomplishing without going bankrupt. The idea that we should be anywhere near the quality of an EPL or even Ligue une is ridiculous. Give it time. 20 years from now this will be a world competitive league, but right now, it just needs to make money and provide a good game. It does that.

Posted by: DCAustinite | January 10, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

i need more news! withdrawl!

Posted by: butters | January 10, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Great story about Nimo. What happened to his brother? Is he still playing?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Finding impact players on the MLS salary cap budget and DP allocations cannot be easy by any means. Thus the search in Latin America by other MLS teams besides DCU is now becoming institutionalized. Be realistic about where the League is financially, I mean come on even a "successful" team like DCU is apprently not making any money. MLS is doing the right thing, bringing in talent through the judicious use of the DP and finding solid pros in lower priced leagues to complement the core U.S. players. The "big jump" is really unrealistic given the serious financial constraints. One transfer fee in Europe is usually greater than our annual salary cap. Come on!

Posted by: sbg | January 10, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Agreed - some perspective is needed. It takes time. 12 years in it is progressing nicely. Lets not rush things. I want more also. But, patience is a virtue and is also needed to allow MLS to become bigger and better.

Posted by: marksman | January 10, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

It seems every international player linked with MLS is about to sign with DC United. Speaks to how much their brand has grown in South America and also speaks to the validity of the rumors. Most are likely player negotiating ploys to increase offers domestically, although it allows Payne and Kasper to negotiate openly while the media masks who they are truly interested in by flooding the news with rumors.

Posted by: DC guy | January 10, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@RK: Are you upset that the WGA strike killed Monday nights with the Nerd Herd, too?

Posted by: AT | January 10, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

nice shoulder goal!

Posted by: eboe | January 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hear on Soccer America on GolTV last night that United is looking at a German defender. Has anyone else heard anything along these lines, outside of that program?

Posted by: Jaime | January 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Quick poll: Sarah or Ellie?

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

How many international spots does DC have again? Geez, seems like their entire lineup is from South America.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Martinez article isn't even about Martinez, but about his replacement ... since he has already signed with DCU according to the story. Interesting. Maybe he signed somewhere, but probably not with us. I'd think we'd have heard about that at some point before the signing is a done deal.

Posted by: Matte | January 10, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

At least MLS is able to get into these talks. Like it or not - the budgets/cap is what it is unil likely 2009 when the CBA changes. Garber and company have been working overtime to change the revenue sources and expand its ability to bring in money because they knew that the new CBA is going to lob some difficult issues at them from both owners and players. They will still look to control spending but they will also likely need to increase roster sizes and the overall cap.

MLS is being prudent and you know that teams are signing players that will help the team first. If they get a marketing tool and a big name other than that - great. Beyond money - what hurts MLS for younger guys is the lack of perceived prestige of playing for the clubs. MLS doesn't have a huge history of big money sales to Europe and it's season and other associated tournaments don't grab you like Libertadores, Champions League, etc do.

Calm down. Every unknown has the chance to be Luciano Emilio just as every DP has the chance to be Lothar Matthaus.

Posted by: UVA-United | January 10, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I bet Kasper's a pretty good poker player.

Posted by: Chico | January 10, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Quick poll: Sarah or Ellie?
Why must it be an "either or" scenario? I'm a fan of "both and."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

:) On the bright side, NBC did state that the show will return, so at least it isn't canceled.

Posted by: RK | January 10, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Houston's inching a bit closer toward getting its own SSS...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/soc/5440589.html

Posted by: Juan-John | January 10, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What's the time table on the first real games that might mean something? Is there still a CONCACAF tourney in the early spring this year? I don't remember if the new CONCACAF tourney supplanted it, or was merely an augmentation this year.

I'm not quite as warm now to the man "so good they named him twice" as I was a year ago (he's 34), but that guy has mad skills on the ball and the set piece like very few in the league ever had. Whether that would translate to dominance on the field (as in Etch's case) remains to be seen. If it did, it wouldn't be long-term due to age.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | January 10, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

Hopefully you can answer this question. I recently got into a mild argument about youth academies in Europe. My arguement was that the European clubs recruited kids to their academies, where they are professionally trained as well as receiving an education. The person I was arguing with said that they do not provide such education to these kids. Am I right or wrong? If I am right, want don't American professional sports setup similiar academies? That way the argument of kids bypassing education for the money can be avoided. Thanks

Posted by: DC United Fan | January 10, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Mark McCullers, Crew President, said that the DP they were chasing was European. Ja-Jay was fabulous is he a second target or did Mark forget that he was Nigerian?
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2008/01/09/crew.html

Posted by: jgildea | January 10, 2008 11:01 AM
-------------------------------------------

When I lived in Columbus many years ago, that paper was known as the Dogpatch, and with good reason. I don't know whether things have changed much. Back then there was a second newspaper, now long defunct, officially called the Citizen-Journal, but better known as the Citizen-Urinal.

Posted by: 22201 | January 10, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Jay Jay is playing for Hull City, I hardly think he would command DP money coming from the third tier of football in England

Posted by: GH152 | January 10, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Am I right or wrong? If I am right, want don't American professional sports setup similiar academies? That way the argument of kids bypassing education for the money can be avoided.
------

I'm certainly no expert on the matter, but I believe some, but not all, clubs provide educational opportunities for academy/developmental players.

Posted by: Goff | January 10, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Kasper can't comment on rumors? Usually if a rumor is completely unfounded he will say so. Leads me to believe that there may be some truth to these rumors then.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 10, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Antonio:

I too shop smart, I shop S-Mart

Posted by: bribri | January 10, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

CdRey, Atl Madrid v Vallodolid on GolTV right now...

Posted by: RK | January 10, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What's the time table on the first real games that might mean something? Is there still a CONCACAF tourney in the early spring this year? I don't remember if the new CONCACAF tourney supplanted it, or was merely an augmentation this year.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | January 10, 2008 01:25 PM

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

The CONCACAF Champions Cup is in early Spring...the DC United schedule indicates that the away leg against Harbour View will be sometime March 11-13. Home leg - March 18-20.


Posted by: Anonymous | January 10, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

DCUMD, read the tea leaves at your own risk.

Posted by: Chico | January 10, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

In the late 90s, Okocha and Lopez were unbelievable players. It's hard to know if they'd be good MLS players at this point.

Personally, I'd rather pay Beasley or Convey $1.5M per year than these guys.

Overall, though, I'd rather follow the Houston model and get some good, tough defenders. I'd want a few that can go forward, like Wade Barrett and Mulrooney, and a few that win everything in the air, like Cochrane and Robinson.

Posted by: jj | January 10, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

$1.5 for Convey?! Lets not get carried away now....

Posted by: DirtyHarry | January 10, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

When I visited England with my college soccer team we were introduced to the Director of Education for Everton. It seems that every English club provides some sort of education while the youth players are with the club. The club also places these players in schools when they are let go.

Posted by: J | January 10, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DC United Fan,

I'm sure that Bradenton (IMG Academies) provides education for the youth players there - like Freddy was able to complete high school in a few short weeks ;-)
MLS, perhaps in the future - a 25 year future.
As with some of the other comments above it will be a long process to get there. A fun and interesting process though.

Posted by: marksman | January 10, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

With Wells here, the goalie signing doesn't make sense. Wells was brought here to start. Why would United get someone to challenge him, and why would someone come from Peru to play backup?

Does anyone know anything about either player?

Posted by: Fisch Fry | January 10, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the goalkeeper position, we currently have one GK: Zach Wells. Someone needs to be in a backup role in case of injury.

What a lot of people have previously pointed out is that Troy Perkins was not challenged by Jay Nolly last year and his play wasn't up to par. I like the idea of having two equal-caliber goalies battling every day for a chance to start. It's not like Wells was very expensive!

Posted by: Glaucon | January 10, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

slightly off topic but...

"Calm down. Every unknown has the chance to be Luciano Emilio just as every DP has the chance to be Lothar Matthaus.

Posted by: UVA-United | January 10, 2008 01:00 PM "

it's MatthaEus NOT Matthaus. They aren't even pronounced the same.
Any letter with an umlaut mean there is an 'e' after it. It's basically just a contraction similar to your use of the " ' " in "isn't"
Sorry, I've just seen too many German names spelled incorrectly (even in papers where there are apparently editorial departments) lately and it's gotten annoying because it's just SOOO lazy.

Posted by: papa bear | January 10, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Two comments: That Mayor in HOuston, Bill WHIte, has some big cojomes. Says the city won't be financing the new Dynamo stadium, or cutting sweetheart deal. That's admirable. Here's where it gets amusing. Dynamo will spend upwards of $70 million to build (how do they do it so cheaply? Also seems 22,000 is too low capacity -- don't they beat that often now?) -- Anyway, the Dynamo will pay a pretty penny to build, but the city thinks it's going to get the concessions revenues? Yeah, whoever owns the Dynamo then will agree to that...

On the DCU goalie istuation. I realize that Nolly seems a bust, and we ned another keeper. I just wonder whether this guy would come from Peru to back up Wells. If not, we traded Boz for a guy who's going to ride the pines...If DCU likes Wells, they should be lookoing for a back-up. Personally, I'd like to see them deal for Seitz, but he may be punching a ticket to Europe in a few years....

Posted by: Fisch Fry | January 10, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

On Gonzalo Martinez -- the story about him coming to DCU must be true. Someone has edited his WIki page to put him on DCU.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | January 10, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if it's on wiki, it MUST be true.

What is Kasper's deal, anyway? El Tiempo didn't report the signing as rumor, it reported as fact, as a done deal. Even if it's not true, can't Kasper comment on reports of purported fact? El Tiempo, while not the Washington Post, is no tabloid.

Posted by: Joe S. | January 11, 2008 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Thaenks, Papa Bear.

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 11, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

YP Lee is a bad luck magnet... Spurs should get rid of him as soon as any other decent left back is available. I hope my beloved Spurs can finally break the curse next week and beat ye bloody Gooners at the Lane next week...

Posted by: Elmo | January 11, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

$1.5 for Convey?! Lets not get carried away now....

Posted by: DirtyHarry | January 10, 2008 02:45 PM

I'd pay a buck-fifty to bring him back, nothing more than that though.

Posted by: Convey | January 11, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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