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Working in a Combine

[UPDATED WITH TWELLMAN NEWS]

This just in: The club that was interested in acquiring Taylor Twellman -- and turned away by MLS and the Revs -- was apparently struggling English Championship side Preston North End, a well-placed source tells me.

Before we get to the D.C. United pre-draft scouting combine, a little update on the imminent Argentine invasion: Things are looking upbeat for the acquisition of forward Franco Niell from Argentinos Juniors, but talks with second-division defender Gonzalo Peralta have cooled considerably. An announcement concerning Niell or someone else is possible this week. We'll see.....

In Red Bulls land, Jeff Agoos has been named the club's sporting director.

As for the DCU invitation-only combine, 37 players gathered for the first of a two-day workout. Most will likely be brought back tomorrow. The club's objective is to take a close look at players, mostly from this region, who were not necessarily invited to the big MLS combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this weekend. Club officials say Kiki Willis, Guy-Roland Kpene, Shawn Crowe and Devon McTavish have passed through DCU's combine in years past.

Among the names you might recognize: Maryland's Spencer Allen, Towson's Billy Chiles and Pat Healey, Virginia's Zola Short and Dane Murphy, and Virginia Tech's Ben Nason. Also of note: West Virginia defender Pat Carroll, brother of DCU's Jeff and Columbus's Brian. (Jeff was in attendance today.) There were also a pair of young players from the D.C. amateur leagues -- Honduran-born Alex Bonilla and Victor Ramirez, whose parents are from El Salvador -- and a 17-year-old who escaped civil unrest in his native Liberia five years ago and settled in America.

Although most of the players from this group have little chance of being selected in the four-round regular draft Jan. 18 in Baltimore, don't be surprised if one or two emerge in the supplemental draft or through the discovery process later in the spring.

By Steve Goff  |  January 7, 2008; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

It's weird to see "Columbus's Brian" (Carroll).

Posted by: Kim | January 7, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

This isn't really a comment about this post, but when writing about players trying out for MLS, why aren't more players moving from the US minor leagues to MLS rosters, particularly USL1 and 2? Are they too old and expensive to fill up the last few spots of an MLS roster? I can't even think of more than a few "recent" USL'ers playing in MLS. I can think of a few former MLS'ers in USL though.

Posted by: John | January 7, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

How many Carrolls ARE there? I hope Pat can stay. Obvi DCU needs two Carrolls at all times.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

There are 3 Carrolls. I was hoping that one day, United could have run all three on the field.

Posted by: Kim | January 7, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Why does the discovery process have to wait until later in the spring? The MLS rules (http://ww2.mlsnet.com/about/league.jsp?section=regulations&content=overview)don't mention any start date...just a September 24th end date. From Ive's report, waiting wasn't the case recently for the Revs 'discovering' top high school senior, Angulo.

So why can't DC United do the same thing now, rather than wait? Maybe the idea is that it's best to see what pops up in the super draft and supplemental before adding salary...or avoid using up the six available per year too soon.

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 7, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It seems a little odd that a paper like the Post would allow a beat writer to go to a team event when it's not opened to anybody else and the team instructs that writer on what he's allowed to cover. Just saying.

Posted by: Lar | January 7, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

It seems a little odd that a paper like the Post would allow a beat writer to go to a team event when it's not opened to anybody else and the team instructs that writer on what he's allowed to cover. Just saying.
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so by your logic, a political reporter would not be allowed to go to lunch with a Senator (not open to the public) if their conversation was off the record?

Seems to me that's when the press is more valuable.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Those were the ground rules. I decided to abide by them. If I had declined, I would not have been allowed to enter the building to see who was there (and share some of the names with you).

Context is important here as well: This was a longshot player combine, not a private practice the day before the World Cup final.

Posted by: Goff | January 7, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Is the name of the 17 y.o. Liberian player embargoed, not disclosed, or not memorable?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 7, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

... tell me it's Weah :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 7, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Weah Jr. is 20 (and currently w/out a club)

Somebody tell Kevin Payne to sign him up!

Posted by: d, dc | January 7, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Liberian not worth noting right now. Perhaps in the future. Sorry.

Posted by: Goff | January 7, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"An announcement concerning Niell or someone else is possible this week."
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Any clues as to the identity of this "someone else"?? An Argentine spotted on a scouting trip perhaps??

Posted by: BigWave | January 7, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Five o'clock in the mornin'
I'm all ready up and gone
Lord I am so tired
How long can this go on?

Goff, some of your music references are a little weird, but some are just plain awesome for us gen Xers.

Does any MLS team do any scouting in Africa? They've tapped Latin America fairly well, but Africa has lots of unknown potential as well. Is the lack of local leagues the problem? We don't need to be competing for the same caliber of players as the Portugese, English, and French clubs who tap the former colonies. However, there is probably even better value to be had in the political turmoil and poverty of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | January 7, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This isn't really a comment about this post, but when writing about players trying out for MLS, why aren't more players moving from the US minor leagues to MLS rosters, particularly USL1 and 2? Are they too old and expensive to fill up the last few spots of an MLS roster? I can't even think of more than a few "recent" USL'ers playing in MLS. I can think of a few former MLS'ers in USL though.

Posted by: John | January 7, 2008 03:35 PM
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John,
That whole paradigm of using USL teams as farm clubs for MLS teams basically fell apart with the advent of the reserve league. Prior to that, MLS players regularly went "down" to play with USL teams to get minutes or return to fitness after injury. It does not happen anymore. I have seen an occassional USL player play a guest match or two with the MLS reserves but that is about it.

If you look at most USL clubs, they tend to be older than you would expect. Only PDL is really "young." Basically, if a young player is any good he is already on the radar of an MLS team or, with luck, a foreign club.

I think part of it may also have to do with the way MLS contracts are setup. Players contract with the league, rather than the club, as I understand it. That being said, clubs cannot reach out to a lower league side and conduct business as would counterparts abroad. It is an impediment to business, IMHO.

It would be better to have a more dynamic up/down of players, if only to keep the most talented players honest. Troy Perkins suffered, I think for not having enough competition, no #2 nipping at his heels. It also explains how guys in MLS can bounce from club to club without being worth a damn.

I am sure it is more complicated than that though, with leagues not under the same umbrella organization (i.e. FA, AFA).

Off topic...F- the Revs, they screwed Shalrie Joseph and they now have screwed Twellman. I am not a fan of his - or the Kick Medic - but he deserves a shot overseas (eventhough he seems allergic to the goalnet when dressed in USMNT kit). I doubt he would be successful ala McBride, who started with Preston, I think. Nevertheless, He deserved a shot. Shalrie would definitely have made a respectable showing. I don't how he motivates himself, having the Revs blow his Celtic deal (hmmm, $$$$$ cures all, I guess).

Posted by: Erick | January 7, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff for the continued coverage around the league. Keep those posts coming!

Posted by: RevsFan | January 7, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Preston could certainly afford him, they have the second richest owner in soccer, I hear, just behind Abramovich.

Posted by: northzax | January 7, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you are awesome! Thanks and keep up the good work.

Posted by: strago | January 7, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Preston is in last place and headed for League One. It is worthwhile from Twellman, at his age, to go to England and disappear into the third tier next season?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 7, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the update SG.

glad to hear Ben Nason was invited to the DCU combine. he seemed to have a pretty decent NCAA tourney for VT. it's pretty hard to tell how good college players are, but i think he might have a chance at a sweet $12,000 contract.

Posted by: hokie soccer fan | January 7, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Zola Short is a rock solid defender. I'd really like to see United sign him.

Posted by: Glaucon | January 7, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Zola Short is a rock solid defender. I'd really like to see United sign him.

Posted by: Glaucon | January 7, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Go Spencer! (interesting sports pedigree in that family, I might add)

Posted by: paul | January 7, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Nason is solid (didn't show it at final4). I hope VCU had a few folks there (Sven Meusch, Matthjis Marunaya).

Saidi Isaac (Winthrop) may be a little far away to be local.

Maybe, Juan Gavaria and Murphy Wiredu (St. Peter's).

Andrew Wheeler (York) deserves an invite based upon his PDL record (but wasn't has impressive).

I assume Reyering (UVA) is still injured.

Eric Anton (Colgate) would be a pleasant surprise.

With Chiles as 1 GK, I would expect that a few other GK's were invited - Conrad Taylor (PSU) and Chris Sedlak (AU) probably, and less probable - Eric Sciocchetti (Richmond).

Posted by: JSF | January 7, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Preston is in last place and headed for League One. It is worthwhile from Twellman, at his age, to go to England and disappear into the third tier next season?
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Kinda depends on what they're paying, doesn't it? Seriously, if PNE can shell out serious $$$, i.e., more than MLS, why shouldn't a 28-year-old forward jump at it. The Revs have had several shots at the title and have only the US Open Cup to show for it... with no serious prospect of getting more soon. Besides, many players build escape clauses in their contracts, so when/if the club goes down, they don't have to go down with it. That way if PNE get relegated, TT's a free as a bird (or can rejoin NE at MLS wages).

Posted by: Schmuckatelli | January 8, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Or, the more cunning plan would be to sign with Preston knowing they will go down...the logic being, you play your tail off and make a good impression and raise you stock, so that when the relegate and dump excess costs/contracts, you are poised to move up to a more competitive, solid Coca Cola Championship side.

Then again, Preston is only three points (1 win) out of the safe zone, so they could conceivably turn it around, especially if Kick Medic scores some goals.

The Coca Cola should fit him better than the EPL. A little slower, slightly smaller defenders, with more emphasis on tenacity and rugged play. More industrial than artistic, which fits him to a 'T' (no pun intended).

Posted by: Erick | January 8, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes all three carols on the field would be awsome!! bring brian back.

Posted by: yo its me | January 8, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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