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DCU: Looking Back and Ahead

D.C. United midfielder-forward Santino Quaranta, on the departure of Coach Tom Soehn: "I will always have a special place for Tommy because he helped me so much when I came back to the team. I've got a lot of respect for him. ... Late in the season, you could tell what this year was doing to him. He had been through so such and he was tired. ... In the end, it wasn't Tommy that was playing. You could see how inconsistent we were. We had so many chances to get it right and we couldn't do it. How much of that was Tommy? I'm not sure. Everyone on our team can put their hand up and say that they let him down."

Defender Bryan Namoff: "I was under the impression that he was coming back. I'm a little surprised. ... It's a difficult transition for the players when you bring in a new coach. You have to re-prove yourself. You're on trial in a way and you don't know whether you fit into the new coach's plans. I hope they don't try to break up this team."

So what now for DCU?

The list of potential candidates is likely to include.....

Richie Williams: Former DCU midfielder, currently New York's interim coach. If the Red Bulls don't offer him the full-time gig, will United make a move?

Curt Onalfo: Former DCU player and assistant, Virginia graduate, worked for Arena on the national team staff, coached Kansas City for 2 1/2 seasons before being let go this year, speaks Spanish fluently.

John Spencer: Fourth year as top assistant at Houston. Name mentioned regularly for openings. Scotland native, strong European ties.

Dave Sarachan: Former assistant with DCU and the 2002 U.S. World Cup squad, guided Chicago to MLS Cup in 2003, currently an assistant at Los Angeles. He doesn't have the top job with the Galaxy, but is well-compensated, works with longtime colleague Bruce Arena and living in sunny SoCal.

Preki: Chivas USA head coach might be available after the season. Two-time MLS most valuable player, fierce competitor as player and coach.

Sasho Cirovski: In his 17th season at the University of Maryland, has won two national championships the past four years and guided the Terps to six final fours. No pro or USSF experience, holds essentially a job-for-life in College Park.

Colin Clarke: Mediocre results in three full seasons at Dallas but has had league and international success with the second-division Puerto Rico Islanders.

By Steve Goff  |  November 3, 2009; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: United Coaching Change
Next: MLS Coaching Carousel


I don't know who I'd choose, but I really think the team (in fact, the organization as a whole) needs some new blood and a fresh perspective.

Also, if anyone else uses the Firefox extension Stylish, I made a userstyle to improve the readability of comments here. Decided to share it:

Posted by: fret44 | November 3, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

You know it's a slow day at work when you read an article minutes after it has been written.

Williams or Onalfo will get the job. Hope it's Richie, pray it's not Onalfo.

Posted by: wanker82 | November 3, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Namoff's quote proves that Soehn needed to step down. The players were obviously too complacent in their job security and it showed on the field. By having to reprove yourself that should hopefully mean that the players show more motivation and heart on the field which should hopefully produce a better product on the field.

Posted by: erichfeige | November 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Whoever the new coach is, he's got to be please with the quantity of experienced youth that DC United has on its roster. Despite the teams struggles the last couple seasons, one thing you can say is that Soehn definitely got the young players on the field in one way or another.

As a result, I think that there is enough quality in our younger players that no matter who replaces Soehn, they'll be flexible enough be able to fit into a new system.

I'm not 100% sure of all of the Expansion Draft (i.e., how the Senior Internationals, Designated Players, or Generation Adidas players fit into the equation), but this is who I'd look to protect (assuming we don't have to protect Hamid).

GK Kocic (24)
D McTavish (24)*
D Jackovic (24)
D James (24)
D Namoff (30)

M Wallace (22)
M Szetela (22)
M Jacobson (24)*
M Simms (27)

F Pontius (22)
F Quaranta (25)

I was not overly impressed with either player this year and If I were worried that Olsen may end up playing in Philly (which I highly doubt he'd go) then I would protect him over one of the two.

As for the list of candidates, I'm not sure why Cirvoski's name is listed. If he was going to leave Maryland, he would have done it already (sort of like Coach "K" and Duke).

I like Richie Williams as a coach, especially of younger players. I think I remember Ben Olsen commenting on how Richie Williams use to yell at him all the time and how it taught him to be a more complete player. I wouldn't mind that time of coach on the field with such a young core of players.

Posted by: TCompton | November 3, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Kick and run UMD soccer - I'll pass.

The only one I like on that list is Preki.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | November 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My favorite would be Co Adriaanse, a winner everywhere he has coached. Currently without a club and loves attacking, stylish football (see: ). This would be a truly inspired choice (Thomas Rongen would be shocked).

Posted by: agoldhammer | November 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Chest and Steve are on the same page for potential candidates for head coach!

Posted by: redskinsux | November 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Would love Preki to be the next coach. Chivas would be stupid to let him go...

Posted by: alan19 | November 3, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Spencer is the lead candidate for Toronto. He and Mo have similar styles.
Richie is too important to NY to let him go, so Red Bull will give him what he needs to make him stay.
Preki has already let it be known he is leaving Chivas, likely for KC.
Chivas want a spanish speaking coach (Onalfo or someone from the Chivas organization).
I am thinking Onalfo is the lead candidate because of his DC United/Arena pedigree, local ties and ability to communicate in Spanish. Onalfo is also a much better coach than he gets credit for (a players' coach as they like to say).

PS: Sasha ain't leaving the fantastic deal he has at MDU and I am betting Colin Clarke doesn't want to come back to MLS.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 3, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

That's quite a leap, erich.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Given the unique nature of MLS and the American game in general, it probably makes sense to take someone who is familiar with our system. My bet is that Ritchie Williams or Curt Onalfo will be selected. I can't see the club going for a European coach that has not been involved previously with this league.

Posted by: sbg1 | November 3, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

When people comment on what players to keep for the coming season, not many mention Barklage.

Posted by: axman664 | November 3, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Use the allocation money to bring in Roberto Donadoni

Posted by: DennisW1 | November 3, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

You have to look at keeping youth. Jacobson wasn't a starter but he was pretty good and played a lot of minutes for pennies on the dollar.
What about goalkeepers?

Posted by: jsm3 | November 3, 2009 1:30 PM

Sorry but I didn't see any games where Jacobson (or even Burch or Boyzz) were "pretty good."

Here's my list of who I'd keep for the expansion draft (and no I have never been a GM, well actually I guess I was when I assembled one of my indoor teams, and I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn, in a while):

Namoff (Goff, out of curiousity what's his latest?)

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | November 3, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Namoff's quote was very telling.

I wish we could have Nowak back..the way the team hustled and fought for every ball while he was coach was night and day compared to Tommy. He brought a discipline to the team that was really lacking..and seems to be lacking again since his departure.

Posted by: DCU_VW | November 3, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not that I'm advocating him, but I always wonder why John Harkes doesn't come up in conversations like this. Novak had no coaching experience and no prior connection to DC when we hired him, while at the same time Harkes seemed clearly interested in pursuing that path but was never mentioned. Is he just not good with players? Is he a moron? Just wondering, 'cause he's certainly got positive history with the team and the USMNT.

Posted by: bbarrie | November 3, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

bbarrie: awful with the youth system, and he's an...fillintheblank.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Kocic should not be protected. we are in need of a starter. Kocic is not that guy so we don't need to protect him.
I know that Jacobson didn't light it up, but i don't think he was ever played correctly. I also think that $30,000 he is a bargain as a guy who can come in and play when needed. Not a starter, but definitely worth keeping around and seeing what he can do in the right position.

Posted by: jsm3 | November 3, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite would be Co Adriaanse, a winner everywhere he has coached. Currently without a club and loves attacking, stylish football (see: ). This would be a truly inspired choice (Thomas Rongen would be shocked).

Posted by: agoldhammer | November 3, 2009 1:44 PM

This sounds good to me, oh golden construction tool. Wasn't Co active in the Ajax development system?

The headline could read:

"Former Ajax Coach to Scrub Aging Veterans"

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 3, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

What about the Wake Forest coach?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 3, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Hiddink can come by if he's still looking to supplement his paycheck from Russia.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 3, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

That Namoff quote is very telling about how this season went. Too complacent.

1) Richie Williams
2) Preki
3) Spencer

Thats my list.

Vamos United!

Posted by: strago | November 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I know this is off topic, but I hope those of you in the Argy Bargy league weren't like me and completely forgot to set your lineups today...

Meanwhile, Real Madrid-AC Milan, the day after I get HD. Sweet.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Gooch manning the back for Meelan against Real Madrid? ;)

=( How's he doing? Any update posts on the wounded warriors for the USMNT in the near future?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 3, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: aflores1 | November 3, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse



Hopefully we get rid of Wicks and bring in Cronin

Moreno-No one is taking him at his age and salary
Fred-The way he played this year no one wants him
Emilio-Please send him somewhere else!
Gomez-His salary so no one is taking him either

We need 3 good defenders and a good young forward(proven forward)

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | November 3, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@joedoc1, yes Co was involved with the Ajax youth system. When Van Basten resigned at the end of last year's dismal campaign (and you think Soehn came in for a hard time this year, the Ajax faithful have less tolerance than this group when a manager shows he has no clue) many were hoping that Co would get the nod. We ended up with Martin Jol who's doing a good job. I think Co could adapt well here.

Posted by: agoldhammer | November 3, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure expansion teams can't select Gen Adidas players so Wallace and Hamid don't need to be protected. I also don't think you have to protect players not under contract (like Olsen and Moreno).

Posted by: laur84 | November 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

1. I think people are reading the Namoff quote the wrong way. Here's the reality: Soehn thought the world of Namoff. But Namoff is now an older defender, not fast, not big, not a great attacker who has a bad back. A lot of new coaches would come in and get rid of Namoff, using the outside back spot to vet a young, fast rookie like Alston or Hall (b/c outback is a good place to break in a rookie as opposed to CM or center back or forward). What I heard Namoff effectively saying was: "I'm not indispensible, I'm in a position where it's not that difficult to justify bringing in minimum salary rookies and a coach who thought I was great just left. I fear for my job with DCU." That's what I took Namoff's comment to be. You probably had other plays (like Burch or Szetela) who would think "great--I'm now out of the doghouse."

2. As for being a "player's coach" and too easy on them, I think the reverse was true. When people were asked about Nowak vs. Soehn, what they said was that Nowak was more of a player's coach, not as quick to scream. I think the deal was this: Tommy Soehn has been with this franchise a very long time. Like Dave Sarachan, he was liked and admired. People who want to put this down to "need new blood" or "he was too easy on the players" or "they got complacent" probably don't know what they're talking about. I think Soehn's issues were:
--ability to bring out the best in his key players
--organizational (getting the defensive roles clear and consistent).
None of that is about new blood (tell that to SAF or Helmut Schoen) or complacency.

3. We have to protect DP's in the expansion draft. So as long as Emilio is under contract, we have to protect him. We are also limited in the number of SI's we can expose.

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 3, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

That Co Adrianse guy just finished a championship run at Red Bull Salzberg. Sounds to me like he would be a great candidate for Red Bull New York (and they can let us have Richie!)

Why are so many people saying that we should protect Kocic? There are usually plenty of good goalkeepers left unprotected (i.e. Onstad, Cannon, Hartman). No way would Philly take Kocic. He is safe.

Posted by: DCUMD | November 3, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

3. We have to protect DP's in the expansion draft. So as long as Emilio is under contract, we have to protect him. We are also limited in the number of SI's we can expose.

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 3, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Emilio's contract is up.

Posted by: laur84 | November 3, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Highly disturbing to see two former Queens Park Rangers players in the running for the DC United job - Clarke and Spencer.

Only need Steve Morrow to complete an unholy trinity.... too many nightmares of their 'contributions' as players whilst at Loftus Rd.

Posted by: qprmeteor | November 3, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

When people comment on what players to keep for the coming season, not many mention Barklage.

Posted by: axman664 | November 3, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse
I thought about Barklage, but I haven't seen him play in a long time and I kind of viewed Szetela as an upgrade to the same style of player.

Posted by: TCompton | November 3, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Arrrrggggh Bargy. Klose off at half.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

you only have to protect DPs if they have "no trade clauses". and you do not have to protect gen adidas players.

moreno and olsen owe it to the club to decide quickly whether they want to continue or not.

Posted by: VTUnited | November 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we'd be able to go after Co Adriaanse, so I would prefer Spencer.

*psst* Pat Rice.

Posted by: B_A_ | November 3, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

When people comment on what players to keep for the coming season, not many mention Barklage.

Posted by: axman664 | November 3, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse
I thought about Barklage, but I haven't seen him play in a long time and I kind of viewed Szetela as an upgrade to the same style of player.

Posted by: TCompton | November 3, 2009 3:59 PM

Barkalage seems like a nice player, but is he really enough of a known commodity to be worried about Philly taking him? I hope that one positive with Soehn leaving is that we will protect Sztela, and get to see more of him next year.

Posted by: VTUnited | November 3, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

preki or sarachan if they're really available, otherwise williams. each of them are likely to stay where they are and i'm not too energized about the rest.

Posted by: troy6 | November 3, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance.

I'm going to go outside and do my HAPPY DANCE!!!!

Posted by: doctortechie | November 3, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: aflores1 | November 3, 2009 2:53 PM

High fructose corn syrup.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 3, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Sure is fun trying to get your 2 1/2 year old to say Ruud Van Nistelroy...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | November 3, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, some crazy last 10 minutes in a few games...

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

My comments on who DC united should cover in the 2009 expansion draft is the following:
Starters with value and have low salaries
Clyde Simms $150,000
Bryan Namoff $100,000
Dejan Jackovic $90,000
Santino Quaranta $70,000
Marc Burch $60,000
Rodney Wallace $55,000
Julius James $42,350
Josh Wicks $42,000
Chris Pontius $36,000
Lawson Vaughn $34,650
Steve Cronin If he signs his salary
should be between $50,000- $75,000

Josh Wicks and Steve Cronin are bono fide MLS net minders; hence have value.
Julius James has shown that he can play in MLS.
Lawson Vaughn may be needed to replace Namoff next season.

DC United does not need to be cover these player:
Danny Szetela is too difficult for Peter to coach,
Andrew Jacobson needs more training to develop an accurate shot,
Devon Mc Tavish is very versatile, but barely MLS quality,
Greg Janicki is too slow,
Boyzzz Khumalo can not hit the frame when shooting,
and Avery John is too old.

Posted by: lgsrtraub | November 3, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Leo Beenhakker. Currently TD at Rotterdam. Talented, has excellent scouting abilities, likes to attack, familiar with mexican league.

Posted by: DCAustinite | November 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

If last year's expansion draft is a guide, we'll be able to protect 11 players, at least 3 must be foreign, and Emilio only has to be protected if he has a no-trade clause.


Absolutely must be protected:
1. Jakovic (foreign)
2. Namoff
3. Simms
4. Quaranta
5. Pontius

Highly likely they'd be protected:
6. James (foreign)
7. Olsen
8. Moreno

That leaves the following as the realistic candidates for the last 3 spots:

Gomez (foreign)
Emilio (foreign)
Khumalo (foreign)
Kocic (foreign)

One of those three will have to go to Gomez, Emilio, Khumalo, or Kocic. With better keepers likely available, and the fact that Philly would be obliged to make Kocic a senior player if they take him, I think he's safe. Khumalo might not interest Philly, but then again he's cheap, high energy, and is good enough to make most MLS benches. Gomez and Emilio are both probably on their way out of MLS unless they sign for much lower salaries (Gomez's deal with Colorado was guaranteed for 3 years, remember, so that seems particularly unlikely for him).

As for the other 2 spots, I'd lean towards Szetela and one from Vaughn, McTavish, or Jacobson. However, I have a feeling that Burch is valued throughout the United organization more than he is in the stands, so I'm pretty sure he'll end up on the protected list. Nowak has an existing relationship with Szetela, and will probably want to make a move for him. If we keep him around, great. He's a player with lots of potential. If we want to move him, however, we should be getting something out of Philly. Given our recent caliber of draft picks (provided they don't jet off to Europe), I'd be very tempted to lean in that direction.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

1. Unless Emilio's contract is up before the expansion draft, we'll need to protect him. EVEN if we have decided to let his contract expire and leave on a free transfer. SOP for most MLS contracts is for them to expire end of December (don't know if that's true of Emilio's).

2. We can only expose a limited number of SI/foreign players.

3. Nowak really wanted Szetela. I think he'd take him in a heart beat. I think he'd love to have Olsen even if only for a year (are you kidding--originally from Philly?).

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The great thing with considering Richie Williams is that we know with 100% certainty that whatever decision DCU makes will be the correct one. If they pass and the Cows keep him, they will suffer another disastrous season. If we hire him, he will be a legendary coach and TFKAM fans will have another lost opportunity to lament.

Posted by: ashleybone | November 3, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Whomever is recommending Adriaanse . . did you finish reading the Wiki article? Not so sure if being labeled "Psycho Co." is a good thing for a resume.

Adriaanse is famous for his controversial training approach. At Willem II, he once ordered his whole squad to follow him by car, while they drove 13 km away from their training ground. At a remote spot, all players had to give their car keys to Adriaanse. Then he drove back to town, while the squad had to run in front of his car. Back at the training ground, the players got their car keys back. However, since their cars where still parked far from the training ground, they all had to walk back another 13 km.[2] At AZ Alkmaar he once ordered the whole squad to search for Easter eggs during a training session. They looked for an hour until Co Adriaanse finally revealed there were no eggs hidden.[3] Adriaanse already had these strange training methods at the start of his career, because when he was a youth trainer at Ajax, he sometimes ordered his players to lay on the ground. Then a teammate (with football boots on) would run over the bodies.[4] Because of all these infamous incidents, Adriaanse is sometimes nicknamed "Psycho Co".

Posted by: delantero | November 3, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Dudes I think we're about to get Kaiser Soze'd when Szetela and Tommy end up with Gros and Nowak in Philly next year...
"Doghousing" Danny boy was a play to get him into the Union all along....

Next thing you know Gros will come out of retirement...

Posted by: DadRyan | November 3, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Co Adriaanse has more overnight stints as manager than One-day Ramos

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 3, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: OWNTF | November 4, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Why no Harkes on the list of possible managers?

Posted by: TestudoTheFearsome | November 5, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Curt Onalfo would be the best fit for DC now. He would keep their attractive attacking style of play but would bring more discpline back to the team and make players earn their spot every week, something Tommy got away from. Curt is a strong leader and would get the blk/red back to the playoffs and hopefully another championship

Posted by: sdlanigan | November 5, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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