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Roger, Over and Out

D.C. United was on the brink of finalizing a contract with Brazilian defender Roger, who was slated to start in central defense this season. However, the club announced today that the 34-year-old veteran, who passed a physical and has been practicing with the team for more than a week, left United training camp in Florida and will return to Brazil.

"Roger has decided that it is in his best interest to return to Brazil," DCU GM Dave Kasper said. "Thus, we will not conclude his signing."


More as I learn it......


Roger apparently decided with his family that he did not want to live in the United States.

As for United's backline, Kasper told the Insider: "There are additional options that we have been pursuing."

By Steve Goff  |  February 8, 2009; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Maybe Gonzalo Martinez will resign to shore the back line up.

Wait a second...

Posted by: Section117 | February 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

At least he left before the season started.

Posted by: decoi | February 8, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

What in the world is going on...

Posted by: strago | February 8, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It is probably best to use the money for Roger to either find 2-3 trialists before preseason is over. We found Janicki in the USL-2 with Pittsburgh- start looking for depth there. The start to this season (though it is only preason) has looked to be pretty slow compared to other teams.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | February 8, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a hard time finding the silver lining here. About all I can think of is that a player who abruptly leaves a team on the eve of his signing is probably not the kind of character you want in your locker room.

A player similar to Roger on paper (Copa Libertadores and Brazilian league experience) is exactly what this team needed to marshal the back four. Unfortunately, I don't see there being too many defensive leaders with that kind of experience available at this point. On the other hand, trying to rush a move here might leave us with another Peralta. This really puts us in an uncomfortable position.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 8, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow... In my completely uninformed opinion, United should take some of that mad Gallardo and Rodger money and find a high quality, physically fit defender. Enough of the old guys, let's get some talent and build a defense for a change.

Posted by: tcbannon | February 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I think it's great, that if Roger did not want to be here he went back home. It's better than what happend last year.

Posted by: francisco_11 | February 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Bizarre. Thanks for keeping us posted on the strange turn of events!

Posted by: bigwave | February 8, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a big disappointment for me because, having seen Roger play a lot, I thought he would be great for United. Maybe DCU isn't perceived as a good place to play anymore.

Posted by: uac1530 | February 8, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

ouch! Was it the training methods? The level of talent he saw around him? The weather? At least he would have had a couple of other Brazilians here he could communicate with.

Very puzzling.

Posted by: fedssocr | February 8, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Depressing. He probably realized that he doesn't want to play around these guys. Not a real surprising.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | February 8, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

At least the Spin Doctors did not utter the most worn out excuse used by South American players:

" (insert name) returned home to take care of an (urgent) family matter."

Simple guess - he thought the level of play stunk. Then again, the Brazilian state leagues are not operating at particularly high levels of play. All the good players are overseas. (Tim Vickery expounds quite convincingly on this subject - plus, what I saw last year in the Paulista league did nothing for my but confirm Vickipedia's diagnosis).

Astute, physical, strong central defender with proper footskills. None in this country. No young ones, for sure.

Posted by: ErickSp8 | February 8, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

It is probably best to use the money for Roger to either find 2-3 trialists before preseason is over. We found Janicki in the USL-2 with Pittsburgh- start looking for depth there. The start to this season (though it is only preason) has looked to be pretty slow compared to other teams.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | February 8, 2009 5:35 PM


While I am all for looking for value, we saw Janicki for a handful of games at the end of last season so I think we should hold off on declaring that signing a success and beginning to mine the lower levels of US soccer for a similar player.

Janicki right now is the flavor of the month. Let's give the guy a season before we hail that move as smart.

Posted by: beach3 | February 8, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Well Thomas Gravesen is available after he retired from Celtic. I know he doesn't play as a central def. but with his ball winning and distribution skills he could easily make the adjustment. Some extra money is better than none at all so i don't think he's asking for much since he's no longer playing.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | February 8, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Very intriguing! It begs the question, what happened during Roger's time with the club that caused both parties to part company? If I had to guess it's either money or chemistry issues. I'm hoping United can find a solid central defender that is under the age of 30.

Posted by: ctsmithjr26 | February 8, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"I'm having a hard time finding the silver lining here."

I'm not. Frankly I'm relieved we never got to find out just how slow Roger is.

Posted by: spidergoose | February 8, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I just added an update to the main thread.....

Posted by: Steve Goff | February 8, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow indeed. Wonder if conversations with our other 2 Brazilians played a part. I don't know if it is any great loss though. At 34 Roger was a Band-Aid not a real solution. I'd suggest moving Jacobsen into the D backline immediately - a 6'2" DM is a potential CB in the making (remember Nelsen). Use the slot to retain one of the guys on the margin, like Mediate (who looked pretty steady as a CB in the 2 reserve games I saw last year) instead of rushing around to find another foreigner.

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 8, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh, also - Compliments to Goff on the quality headline. :)

Posted by: spidergoose | February 8, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

42 days until United's first game!

Posted by: Curious99 | February 8, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess that the agent for Honduran center-back Osman Chavez is now getting some calls from Kasper and Company.

Posted by: PhillyMLS | February 8, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow is the word to describe this! They have six weeks left to find another solid central defender. Hopefully, they get someone soon!

Posted by: ksoccer14 | February 8, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Ibramhim Kante

Posted by: peridigm | February 8, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

We have clearance, Clarence.

Roger, Roger.

McTBone, Janicki time to step it up.

Posted by: delantero | February 8, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Erpen, Filomeno, Peralta, Martinez (not related)--enough with the South American defenders! There is a revolving door of quality young American defenders (Soumare, Boswell, Marshall).

Now go out and buy a playmaker or two!

Posted by: notafembot | February 8, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Too late to ask the Carroll kid back?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 8, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

This is proving a previous point I made regarding management/coaching... DC is lacking something in that area at this time.
Gallardo's lackluster play illustrated how a DP could not be motivated and melded into the line up properly. That result, coupled with the turnover from last year's roster in general, shows several things:
(1) A coach must command respect from players, and sometimes this goes back to his playing days. Ideally: a great player and a skilled motivator/tactician
(2)Roger's sudden exit shows that there may have been initial good will but, ultimately ueber-positive PR, and once he realized the up-side to living here wasn't balanced with a good feeling from the organization.
(3)If we are going to be reaching to other regions for 'seasoned talent' and experience, there must be more resources devoted to the search and identify department

In the end, we're left with a team that already is notoriously slow out of the gate and now has roster uncertainties and for me questionable leadership at the top.

Posted by: inzzo79 | February 8, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

1. If this was going to happen, good that it happened early. Imagine a situation where the player signs, is unhappy and doesn't want to be there. Now that would be ugly.

2. Doesn't sound like much mystery here. Roger decided with his family he didn't want to live in the United States. He's spend most of his career in South America--yes? Coming to the States is a big change. I don't want to live in Brazil. Doesn't make me a bad guy--just that everyone has preferences and some people (Roger being one, me being another) aren't real flexible on some of them.

3. The one negative I see is that we Roger was probably seen as being in the defensive organizer role. It's one thing to be missing a central marker or left back. But missing a defensive organizer (especially since with guys like Burch, McTavish, Namoff, Janicki, maybe Veris, maybe Wallace, we've got decent spear carriers). On the positive side, guys like Steve Morrow (ie: aging, no longer have the body or speed to play 50 matches a year at the topflite level) but have smarts and can be organizers--they're out there. If we scout well, we can find one. The question would be if that person is a good fit.

4. Kudos on the headline Herr Goff-Meister.

Posted by: JoeW1 | February 8, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Frightening. Makes you seriously question how management evaluates players. I've had enough of these take-a-chance-on-a-past-reputation players. Invest in some of the young defenders so fans have a sense that we're building this team for more than the next few months. I like the Jacobsen as center back idea. Groom Miller (speed and skill) as Namoff's successor at right back. Plan on giving Wallace (raw talent) some quality time at left back so he develops. Before you know it, you have an experienced core to build from.

Posted by: ajsockrboxr | February 8, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

"Roger, Roger. Over, Oveur. What's our vector, Victor?"


"It's a game with 22 players and three blind refs, but that's not important right now."

Posted by: bs2004 | February 8, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

notafembot- Filameno was a striker, not defender

I believe that this likely assures that Kyle Veris will make the team

Posted by: BurchFan4 | February 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Ibramhim Kante

Posted by: peridigm | February 8, 2009 8:06 PM

For depth, maybe. Not an MLS regular starter.

Posted by: spidergoose | February 8, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

It's time, once and for all, for the front office to abandon the foreign player strategy they have employed. Foreign players are fine, if they have shown that they actually want to be here in the states, and MLS generally. However, DCU needs to return to finding top level American talent that can start and win at the MLS level.

Posted by: buryyourduke | February 8, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

All we've done is lose players so far. We sucked last year and this team is arguably much worse than last years team. Things aren't looking too good right now.

Posted by: CapitolHill1 | February 8, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather the Roger be gone now than disappoint us all later.
I wish him well, Aloha.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 8, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that this team is worse.
They've had a year of playing together and the failures and distraction served up by management are gone (ONeil, Gallardo). We won't win the league with this team but if we find one more central defender with height we should be fine.

Posted by: dsheon | February 8, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

We were so close this time. Why does it seem like every player rumored to be coming to DC this off-season hasn't?

Posted by: sitruc | February 8, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse


So how much is Ryan Nelsen making per week?

Posted by: B_A_ | February 8, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with buryyourduke, we need to stop at just looking abroad and get back to growing our own talent; ala Olsen and Convey.

Some of our best and dedicated players have been from right here in the US: Simms, Rimando, Esky, Kamler, Nelsen and so on.

OT: Premiere League ref says players ask for yellows for time off, other refs singing "You'll Never Walk Alone."

Posted by: RedDevil1 | February 8, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

(sung to: for he's a jolly good fellow)

We need a central dee-fen-der, we need a central dee-fen-der, we need a central dee-fen- der, to fine-ly solve our backline.

There were some more profane versions of that song that I deleted before settling on that one.

Will we here chants of: "you don't know what you're doing" at RFK this summer?

Off-season strategy session. Our defense is pretty bad. Solution: let's sign another unproven South American defender!

Posted by: churtmah | February 9, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

"I agree with buryyourduke, we need to stop at just looking abroad and get back to growing our own talent; ala Olsen and Convey."


Some people may find objection to that statement; in particular, Convey. I've rarely seen, "talent" in that guy.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 9, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Did any of you consider the possibility that what the player said might possibly be true, and that is all there is to this? That *maybe* his decision had nothing to do with DC United, and maybe the guys wife/kids said they would be happier staying in their home country of Brazil?

Posted by: Ron16 | February 9, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Some of our best and dedicated players have been from right here in the US: Simms, Rimando, Esky, Kamler, Nelsen and so on.


Last I checked, Nelsen was from New Zealand.

As for Roger, I agree with Ron16. Sometimes, things are exactly what people say they are. I am sure the 20 degree weather when Roger first got here was a bit of a shock and perhaps his family just didn't like DC. Ya know, "a happy wife is a happy life" and all that.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | February 9, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Good of him to decide before the season and before DC signed him.

Although if it was weather-related, this weekend ought to have changed his mind :)

Posted by: tundey | February 9, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I hope someone told him not all of the US sucks as bad as Florida. If my only view of the US was based on a trip to Florida I would be on the first flight home.

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 9, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Based on this off-season, it sounds like we need new scouts.

Posted by: carnack | February 9, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

David Stokes NOW!!!!!

Posted by: dcufan | February 9, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like United's 2009 is going to join the growing group of sh*tty DC professional teams. We were always the exception! :-(

Posted by: Kev29 | February 9, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse


So how much is Ryan Nelsen making per week?

Posted by: B_A_ | February 8, 2009 11:47 PM


Indeed! Blackburn are in danger of relegation - maybe Nelly will come back to the Black & Red as a DP.

HarkesyRules - true, Nelsen is from New Zealand, but he played college soccer here in the states and was acquired through the SuperDraft. Doesn't make him homegrown, but seems he was pretty unknown on the world football stage before his success with DCU.

Posted by: combedge | February 9, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

DC will never be the same as long as the new owners continue to retain the top operating executives at United. They are not able to assemble a good group of player that are willing to work as a team. You can't buy championships with superstars. I think the Galaxy's have already found out that even a Beckham can't win championship with his reputation alone. Management already made a big mistake by trading C. Gomez.

Posted by: galaxies42 | February 9, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good riddance! It's bad enough we have a Fred, the last thing we needed was a Roger. I mean, come on -- all those cool Brazilian names and we can't find anybody that ends with -inho?!

Hmm... sorry, but having never seen the guy, that's all I could offer.

Posted by: jealousmuse | February 9, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

McF & C need to seriously take a look at Kevin Payne and Dave Kaspar. They've had quite the string of high-profile failures on and off the field recently.



Posted by: jayrockers | February 9, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Indeed! Blackburn are in danger of relegation - maybe Nelly will come back to the Black & Red as a DP.

Posted by: combedge | February 9, 2009 9:45 AM

Even if Blackburn go down (I don't think they will - Big Sam will bore us all to their safety), Nelson would have an easy time finding a new Premier League club. Or just stay and make more money than a designated player with his Championship club.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

1. Gotta stop using foreign talent and go domestic...except:
--Ryan Nelson was a kiwi. And the argument he went to college here...yeah, while he also played with the NZNT. And after we drafted him he did a Jacobson/Robles and went to Europe. Where he was all set to sign until at the last minute, Grasshoppers of Zurich signed another foreign player and he was out. So he came back to MLS.
--And the domestic talent, when it becomes really good, goes overseas. Califf anyone? Borchers (I remember him being cited as an example of "why can't DCU develop a good young centerback like Nat Borchers?" and then a year later he left for Europe) or Gibbs or Bocanegra. Even Boswell (now playing well for Houston) tried to get signed in Turkey this offseason.

The answer isn't going foreign or going domestic. It's signing a good player. And any team that says "we're only relying on the draft" or "only signing domestic talent" or "only going for foreign pedigree" is competing with one hand behind their back. I like how we're positioned this year. We've got some question marks. But we added guys from the draft, we don't have too much turnover, we might get some breaks from the injury bug (Olsen returns? Be still my beating heart) with fewer games. We need to see what happens with Clayton and we need a defensive organizer.

2. As for the off-the-handles criticism about Roger, no-one so far has indicated that he seemed out of place or a bad fit or not working out well for the team and MLS. This appears to be a FAMILY issue--he and his family decided after some time in DC (probably some exposure to what in Brazil they'd call "ice age temperatures") and Florida that he prefers Brazil.

3. Again, it's good we found out this wasn't a fit NOW rather than mid-season. I'd have preferred we got someone signed in January. But we've still got time to work this out.

4. As for a string of "high profile failures", I think the reality is that MOST foreign signings don't work out. And that's true whether you're Real Madrid, Arsenal, LA Galaxy, DC United or the Charleston Battery. In such a team sport, it's tough for a someone successful with one team/coach/country to shift to a new team, new coach, new scheme, new country and still flourish. Some players do it. Most don't. So signings of any kind are a bit of a crapshoot. Houston (with their domestic signings) is ahead of the odds (but makes up for it with their foreign signings--Caig? Caracio?).

Posted by: JoeW1 | February 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

On the "Jacobson to CB" idea:

Another conversion project? On a backline that features a converted midfielder (Namoff), a converted forward (Burch), and a utility man playing center back (McTavish)?

One of our big problems back there is that, bar Namoff, everyone's learning how to play MLS-level defense. Adding another conversion project to the mix, for the sole reason that he's tall, seems to me like a recipe for another season of giving up 45 or more goals.

Imagine your work has a department with 3 or 4 fresh hires out of college. They do their best, but a lot of times they seem aimless or confused. What do you think they need more: an intern, or a boss?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 9, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

One of our big problems back there is that, bar Namoff, everyone's learning how to play MLS-level defense. Adding another conversion project to the mix, for the sole reason that he's tall, seems to me like a recipe for another season of giving up 45 or more goals.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 9, 2009 10:45 AM

But remember, you can never have too many forwards!

Until you do

Posted by: Kev29 | February 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Fred and Emilio gave Roger the straight dope on what it was like living in the DC area... It's not for everybody.

Yellow cards in the Prem just remind me of why I stopped watching NBA games. Also bolstering my resistance to give a rat's tookus about the EPL.

My off topic piece is: Anyone interested in the Drama of Armstrong, Landis, and Hamilton joining the Tour of California starting on Saturday?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Conversion" is more about players finding a place in a team. A DM can tackle so withdrawing to the backline isn't the worst adjustment. Jacobsen isn't going to displace Simms at DM any time soon, so conversion makes sense. The CB situation is pretty bleak right now - McT and Janicki start w' Veris the understudy (and maybe Burch). By all accounts Jacobsen is the most talented of that group so - unless he's fragile like a stick insect - having him work out as a CB in preseason makes sense to me.

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 9, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Last I checked, Nelsen was from New Zealand.

He is a Kiwi, but he started his career here through the college ranks. I count him as someone picked here in the US.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | February 9, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, Ryan Nelson is from New Zealand, but he was, if not home grown, home developed in the U.S. Quoting his wikipedia article:

"After attending Our Lady of the Assumption primary school and St Thomas of Canterbury College, Nelsen went to the United States of America to play for Greensboro College in North Carolina in 1997. After spending two years at Greensboro and leading the team to the NCAA Division III Final Four, Nelsen moved to Stanford University, where he played his final two years of college soccer. At Stanford, Nelsen was voted team MVP in his first year, and named an NSCAA All-American in his senior year, while playing as a defensive midfielder.

DC United Nelsen was drafted 4th verall in the 2001 MLS SuperDraft by D.C. United, with whom he has spent four years in Major League Soccer."

Though I would love to see him back, he has played 22/24 matches for Blackburn this season. They like him, too.

Posted by: greenbeltjoe | February 9, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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