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Wells on Leave

D.C. United goalkeeper Zach Wells has taken an indefinite leave of absence to contemplate his future, Coach Tom Soehn confirmed to the Insider today.

Wells was not at training today at RFK Stadium and is not expected to join the club in Florida this week.

"He is at a point in his life where he needed some time to think about what is next -- if he wants to continue," Soehn said. "We have an open line and he will keep me informed as to what he wants to do."

The Insider got word of Wells' possible retirement Saturday and is seeking comment from him today.

Acquired last offseason from Houston for defender Bobby Boswell, Wells lost the starting job last August when Louis Crayton arrived. He then underwent foot surgery in the offseason, and the recovery process has taken longer than expected.

Crayton is the preseason No. 1 keeper and second-round draft pick Milos Kocic from Loyola College in Baltimore is probably second on the depth chart ahead of returning developmental goalie James Thorpe. Kocic is in contract negotiations with United. Crayton will return to his native Liberia this week following the recent death of his mother.

Wells, who turns 28 this month, earned $52,920 last season. United exercised the option on his contract, but because it is not a guaranteed deal, he would not count against the salary cap if he retires.

By Steve Goff  |  February 2, 2009; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: USA in '18 (or '22)

Comments

Wow. Shocking news.

Kocic's demands just went up.

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I like Zach. I hope his foot heals and he comes back to soccer. He was great for Houston when he played. I think he will be a great goalie for DC when his foot heals.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Good luck Wells!

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | February 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

good riddance, peace chump! Thanks for the miserable season. Let's go jim thorpe!

Posted by: jdickinson187 | February 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

While often criticized for his play - best wishes during leave for Zach. I hope that you find what you're looking for and even if you're a career backup in MLS - it's got to be better than the 7 or 8 until 6 or 7 routine (or longer) most Americans face.

You were proud to come to DC United, it's a shame that your enthusiasm didn't match your results.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 2, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Scott Garlick is doing...

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I suspect Kocic will slot right in and maybe even take over for Crayton...

Posted by: strago | February 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"You were proud to come to DC United, it's a shame that your enthusiasm didn't match your results."

Well said.

Posted by: Section117 | February 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Random-ish pronunciation question: Is Kocic pronounced like "Koh-sis" or "Koh-chich" or "Koh-kick" or some mixture?

And good luck to Mr. Zach Wells in his future endeavors. He played hard for us.

Posted by: TheAMT | February 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Its kinda sad but itreally shows why college soccer won't be replaced anytime soon except for the top top prospects. MLS just doesn't pay enough to justify the risk of not getting a college degree.

Posted by: mattgs84 | February 2, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

what......?!?!?!

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | February 2, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'll only be upset if he winds up at River Plate with Gallardo.

Otherwise, best of luck to him.

Posted by: tab5g | February 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck in the future Zach. You're still my son's favorite DCU player.

Posted by: BBride | February 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't let the door hit you in the arse

Posted by: delantero | February 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wells took one look at the 6' 4, 215 lb Milos with a link to Red Star Belgrade and thought . . . third string isn't for me.

Posted by: delantero | February 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope his foot gets better & I hope he turns his career around or, failing that, succeeds in the next phase of his life. But given the presence of Louis Crayton, the salary cap situation, demonstrated level of ability at this stage of his career, and the likely presence of a young GK the DC United technical staff seems to believe has real potential (and possibly the Red Star Belgrade staff, too), as a DCU fan I hope that he decides to leave the team. Also other GKs at or around his ability level should come free soon with MLS teams shortening their rosters substantially this season.

Posted by: TestudoTheFearsome | February 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Zach ends up doing, I'm sure more than 99% of us wish him well. No one ever faulted Wells' effort or desire to contribute. If Kocic signs here, the writing is definitely on the wall -- but, that doesn't mean that Wells can't play find a spot on another team. I'm guessing he could succeed on some level, if he wants to continue. In this market, he might be wise to give it a shot somewhere -- unless he has other good options. Sure, his struggles were on display last year, but who amongst us hasn't struggled at some time?

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Surprised at the Zach Wells hating. Especially the one at 3:14 by a usually fair-minded poster. Early on last year the guy lost us some games, sure. I criticized his play my fair share, to be sure. But as time progressed he did improve. Can't fault the guy for that. Then he was beat out for the starting keeper job by Crayton, a better goalkeeper. Wells did his best, and I think when he pulled on the shirt at least it meant something to him and he went out and fought for the shirt.

Whatever Zach does, I wish him well.

Posted by: Ron16 | February 2, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Dynamo, it seems they got themselves a good young player in Felix Garcia (19 y.o. in the US U-20 field). According to the MLSnet piece, Rongen thinks Garcia is the most likely to succeed among the U-20s. What I don't understand is how they got him...

http://web.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jsp?ymd=20090129&content_id=214897&vkey=news_mls&fext=.jsp

It seems that they moved up the allocation by trading with Toronto. I'm just wondering how it is that he was made available to the allocation process. Also wondering if this situation wasn't engineered to steer a native Texan to the Houston team?

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | February 2, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we'll have some good competition for goalkeeper this season. Assuming Crayton doesn't try to rainbow or scissors a forward or two in upcoming preseason games, it seems it's his position to lose.

Good luck, Zach, whatever you choose to do.

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 2, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Peace chump"? Is that similar to "peace out"? Or is Wells a Quaker?

I'm concerned I might be a peace chump as well.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | February 2, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder whether our Nation's poor economy is playing a role in Wells' decision to retire.

He's 28 and earned $52K last year. He knows his career as a professional soccer player will end at some point, and the later he starts his second career, the harder it will be to enter the workforce with a decent salary.

Knowing that unemployment numbers have been climbing, you figure the earlier you get a job in a competitive environment, the better off you'll be in the future.

I wonder how many other players are also considering the same decisions. And, since MLS doesn't pay like any where near the salaries that NBA or NFL does, I wonder how many of the top college players will choose to finish their degree before entertaining a professional contract with MLS just so they have something else to fall back on.

Posted by: TCompton | February 2, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Wells' retirement might be everyone's best option. I wish him well.

Is Crayton's shoulder/arm healed? Last I heard it was still questionable: is he still a viable option?

At least Kocic should make some decent money. Maybe even Thorpe.

With no reserve team schedule, is there really any need to carry a third keeper?

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 2, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Steve, what is this 'presented by:' link that sneaks onto your blog's subject listing from time to time and takes me to an external site? Is this a Post sponsored feature or is it a hack job?

Posted by: seahawkdad | February 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Carrying 3 GK's is pointless with the MLS goalkeeper pool coming back into play now with the roster cutbacks, so assuming Kocic signs, Thorpe was looking to be a casualty anyway and Wells was looking at being trade bait so this would pretty much eliminate any preseason camp battles for spots... just let Crayton and Kocic battle for the right to start... I'd like to get Crayton's contract extended past July too...

Posted by: BurchFan4 | February 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Even though you gave me such agita last season and, truth be told, I wound up becoming one of your harshest and most venomous critics I still have nothing but love for you, as you did wear the shirt proudly. You gave us your best, and though it didn't work out in the end I do wish you well and all the best.

Does anyone hear Kocic screaming..."SHOW ME THE MONEY!!"

Posted by: Kosh2 | February 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Peace chump"? Is that similar to "peace out"? Or is Wells a Quaker?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | February 2, 2009 3:55 PM
-----------------------------------

I have the same question. Please to explain.

Posted by: edgeonyou | February 2, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@ jdickinson187,

I think you better find a comma real fast and place it in your post...last time a comma went mnissing like that it resulted in a change in the law. ;-)

Posted by: Kosh2 | February 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It's a Cat Stevens song:

"Ride on the Peace Chump
Oooh ooh oooh ah..."

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 2, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck Mr. Wells. Money grows on trees here in Washington.
Grab a suit and a blackberry and get in the game... Everyone knows you'll pull more chicks in that uniform than the DCU one anyway...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

So THAT'S what you're growing, DadRyan...

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 2, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking:

Mee-losh Koh-chich

Posted by: mbetka23 | February 2, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Ha! I wish... Anyone else see that special on CNBC in the last week or so about the resurgence in the domestic crop in Northern California? A mouth watering video but there's no denying the negative impact on family life in Mendocino. Probably could find it on HULU if you looked hard enough...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 2, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I've been mentally pronouncing Kocic "Koh-sich", but a) I think that's probably wrong and b) without the symbols often found above Eastern European letters, it's hard to say how to pronounce his name.

Like most that already posted, I never had a problem with Wells on a personal level. He was doing his best and was obviously bothered by his own play as well as the team's. My impression of him is that he's a very good professional with a great desire to succeed. Unfortunately, MLS level play may be above his skill set. At 28, it's also probably a bit too late to drop down to the USL, prove yourself, and jump back up. It should also be noted that this tactic has only worked in a couple special cases. More often than not, that temporary move down is permanent. I also imagine that being a backup under intense pressure from a promising younger player has something to do with this.

If I'm not mistaken, Wells has a pretty useful degree. He seems intelligent. If he waits too much longer, that degree will be far enough in the past that employers will question its relevancy to a certain extent. Soehn is right; he is at a pretty crucial point in his life.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 2, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

It seems that they moved up the allocation by trading with Toronto. I'm just wondering how it is that he was made available to the allocation process. Also wondering if this situation wasn't engineered to steer a native Texan to the Houston team?

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 3:40 PM

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

Not sure you'll see this, but the Dynamo were able to get him by swapping spots with TFC in the allocation order. San Jose and LA, who were in the first two spots, passed on him. TFC was able to get (I believe) an international player slot from Houston and dropped to #10 in the order.

Posted by: Josh8 | February 2, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

@Josh* -- I linked to the mlsnet piece that explained all that. My question was why was Garcia made available in the allocation process? We just had the SuperDraft. Was he passed over -- seems unlikely for someone who just signed a Gen Adidas contract. '

So, I ask again, how is that Garcia went into an allocation process that resulted in his going to Houston? Was this engineered to get him to the Dynamo? I suppose, if this is what was needed to keep the 18 y.o. in the US, I would understand it, but I'm curious...

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Garcia wasn't in the draft because he was already under contract to Laredo. La and Sam jose reportedly passed to bid on Bobby Convey. He was in the allocation order because he's on a national team.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 2, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

PEACE, CHUMP

holy missing commas batman.

Posted by: jdickinson187 | February 2, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

@joshuaostevens -- Many thanks for the explanation on Garcia.

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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