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Wednesday Kickaround

*The agent for D.C. United veteran defender Bryan Namoff tells the Insider that the sides are "still talking and no resolution yet" in contract talks. His previous pact, which had a base salary of $95,000 last season, expired last week and made him a free agent. United retained his MLS rights.

*Akron sophomore Steve Zakuani, the nation's leading scorer, formally announced he is leaving school to sign a Generation Adidas contract with MLS. Don't be surprised if Seattle selects him with the first overall pick next Thursday. The GA class of 2009, which includes Maryland's Omar Gonzalez, Rodney Wallace and Jeremy Hall as well as Silver Spring native Kevin Alston of Indiana, is tentatively scheduled to be unveiled today.

*The state of Canadian soccer, according to midfielder Julian DeGuzman. "The CSA ... and the rest of the associations are the root of our problem and it will only become a cancer to the program across the nation."

*Soccer on TV today:
Carling Cup semifinals, Derby-Manchester United 2:45 p.m. Setanta
Copa del Rey, Sevilla-Deportivo de Coruna 3 p.m. GolTV

Keep reading.....

*Alkis Panagoulias, a longtime resident of Vienna, Va., who coached the U.S. national team, Team America in the NASL and Greece in the 1994 World Cup, will be among seven inductees into the Virginia-D.C. Soccer Hall of Fame on Jan. 24 in Crystal City. The others are Mia Hamm (who graduated from Lake Braddock High School), former UVA and United defender Jeff Agoos, Northern Virginia natives and UNC stars Marcia McDermott and Wendy Gebauer, as well as Dan Williams and Pat McStay. The group will be recognized at a United game this year.

*Participants in the Hamm-Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge on Jan. 17 at Home Depot Center will include skateboard king Tony Hawk, former NFLer Marcus Allen, actor Anthony La Paglia and band members from Weezer and Good Charlotte. Cobi Jones, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas and Brandi Chastain have also committed. The event benefits Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation. Tickets are $20.

By Steve Goff  |  January 7, 2009; 9:21 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS , TV  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Becks in Dubai With Milan
Next: His Name Is Messi


so how much does Namoff want? don't get me wrong, I like the guy and hope we re-sign him, but this is MLS, I don't think he's worth much more than $100k.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | January 7, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I understand the idea of taking the nation's leading scorer is attractive, but doesn't Seattle already have a bunch of qualified attacking players? I figured they would be looking at defenders with their first pick.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 7, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, much more than $100K for Namoff would be more than I would be willing to pay. He solid, but offers no attacking potential. I think there are at least 30 or 40 other MLS players that are as good as him.

Posted by: therealfootball | January 7, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I wanted to say "30 or 40 other MLS defenders" not players.

Posted by: therealfootball | January 7, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"30 or 40 defenders" as good as Namoff?

Are you high?

Look, Namoff has been about as solid an MLS defender as a franchise could ever hope to have. Relatively healthy and effective throughout his entire career to this point. You almost can't put a price on that.

I don't think paying Namoff around $100-110k a year is bad business for United.

If you think United's defense was bad last year (and it was just about the worst in club history), how do you think it will look without their most competent defender there?

Pay the man, Shirley..

Posted by: ARickey | January 7, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

There may be three or four MLS defenders as good as Namoff, certainly not 30 or 40. The Gonzalos earned between $180-240,000. Why wouldn't you pay Namoff at least $120+?

Posted by: b18bolo | January 7, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought Garciaparra changed his last name to Hamm...

Posted by: joedoc1 | January 7, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Namoff - what he lacks in pizzazz and caps for the National Team he makes up for in heart. He's the Ben Olsen of the backline and I'm willing to go as far as to say United's only legitimate defender on the roster as the Gonzalo's are gone and McTavish and others are still far from polished.

If I can't get anymore Olsen's on my shirts - then I'm getting a Namoff!

And I'd argue he's got the most attractive wife on the team...

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 7, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see more specifics from DeGuzman on Canada's problems. I don't understand why they perform so poorly. If finding a consistent home venue is there only excuse, that doesn't cut it. The US plays in a different stadium for each game.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | January 7, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Have you heard anything more on Ben Olsen? I talked to him for quite a while at the MLS cup and he seemed very pessimistic about recovering from the latest surgeries.

On Namoff, He is a good solid MLS defender and our most consistent player on defense last year. Having said that the major glaring weakness is at centerback and particularly a centerback with size and speed.

On balance Namoff is definitely due a raise but I don't think I would go much above 110 to 120k.

Posted by: dcufan531 | January 7, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Olsen is a longshot to play again. I haven't spoken to him in a while, though. Should know more soon.

Posted by: Steve Goff | January 7, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I hate to pile on, but if there are 30 to 40 MLS defenders better than Namoff, then I would assume that means there are many MLS clubs that I've never seen or heard of that have defenders I don't know about.

Namoff deserves a raise, but it's pretty hard for an MLS team to go too much higher for a steady, stay-at-home outside back with great fitness. It's not that Namoff isn't within his rights asking for $140K or more, it's that the club, because of the salary cap, has to consider the performance drop in losing Namoff against the cap savings. I've said a few times that I think McTavish will make an acceptable MLS right back, at a lot lower price tag. There is a clear drop in current ability, but we might be talking about a $100K savings. Can DCU use that saved cap space to better the team elsewhere by enough to offset the drop at right back?

It's tricky, in other words. Quantifying something subjective as overall ability at right back in our system into dollars, and then deciding whether you can turn those saved dollars back into overall ability elsewhere in the same system is both a mouthful (handful?) and a difficult process.

I think this will come down to what DCU can do with the money. If that money will get us a good center back, then as much as I don't like to have to choose, I'd take the new center back over Namoff. Ultimately, central defenders are more important than outside backs. However, if that money's just going to go towards a midfielder or even a forward (Walter Martinez, for example), I'd lean towards retaining Namoff.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 7, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -Swedish club Umea IK has broken off negotiations to keep Brazilian star Marta, a two-time winner of the FIFA women's Player of the Year award.

[blah, blah, blah]

On Tuesday, Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that Marta has signed a preliminary contract with the Los Angeles Sol.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said the deal will be made public next week.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 7, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"I've said a few times that I think McTavish will make an acceptable MLS right back, at a lot lower price tag."

Don't disagree with you on this, Chest. But it's the term "acceptable MLS right back" that bothers me. Great attacking teams have great attacking outside backs. I'd like to see DC United adopt that personality. With Fred and Ivan G. cutting inside as often as they do, the opportunity for an outside back to exploit the flanks is there. Sure, it demands outstanding play from the two holding center backs, but that can be accomplished.

Oops! Nearly fell off my soapbox there...

Posted by: joedoc1 | January 7, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

By all means--please bring NAMOFF back. Continuity and communication on the back line is not just important, it is critical. Look how the insertion of Peralta last year upset the cohesiveness our defense had in '07.As McT and Burch (assuming they come back) continue to mature, we need NAMOFF back there.

Posted by: patrick18 | January 7, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

espn360 perfect place for work place footy. Watching Man U/Derby right now.

Posted by: cr10 | January 7, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Man the HGCSC sounds dope! Got Tony Hawks autograph back in 87 at the Vision Skate Escape! Saw Marcus Allen when he played with USC at the Coliseum. Weezer is totally the Beach Boys of this Millennium, and yo isn't La Paglia play keeper for Hollywood United?
Wish I could go...;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 7, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

On Tuesday, Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that Marta has signed a preliminary contract with the Los Angeles Sol.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper said the deal will be made public next week

that would make sense, to coincide with the WPS draft and the other goings on in St. Louis; Mr. Goff will you be there to give us the straight dope?

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

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