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Life of Pele

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pele's 1,000th professional goal, Life magazine offers a wonderful gallery of photographs, including this shot of the Brazilian superstar with Robert Kennedy at Maracana in 1965:

By Steve Goff  |  November 27, 2009; 10:46 PM ET
Categories:  Brazil , History  
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Next: Sunday Matchday


120 days until United's first 2010 league match!

The shot of Pele playing goal is a sure reminder of his overall athletic skill. Remember Mia Hamm playing keeper in the world cup?

Posted by: Curious99 | November 27, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice gallery.

Posted by: sitruc | November 28, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Hi Steve, and the SI community. Happy Thanksgiving.

Prior to the season, the ownership group wrote fans a letter that at least in tone indicated that the front office was going to be watched closely and held accountable for the success of the team.

We frequently see player ratings for games. How about management ratings for the season? Here are mine:

Dave Kasper: 6. Have to give him credit for signing two rookies that deserved substantial playing time. But also have to hold him accountable for thinking that Gomez, Fred, Moreno and Olsen were able to form the heart of the team despite knowing full well their times in the 100 meter dash and supposedly understanding the pace with which the league plays.

Kevin Payne: 1. He showed up. But no advances on the stadium front. And he continues his pattern of disappearing when it comes to taking responsibility for the teams failures. His arrogant stance in the Open Cup marketing leaves all United fans with egg on faces having lost to a team in its first season who averages something like 30 % more fans than we do.

Tom Soehn: 7. I'm no fan of some of his substitutions, and clearly it's time for a change, but he has to play with the cards that the KP and DK play to him. His one brilliant move was to play Jaime one half and then Gomez the second half in a game in August, allowing both players to give their all for 45 minutes and we won the game. However, he failed to learn the lesson and never did it again.

I would love to see management ratings by others, as well as by you Steve.

Will Chang owns 100 percent of the team. There's been confusion on this board and elsewhere over Kevin Payne's ownership stake.

Does he have an ownership role or doesn't he? Regardless, is he under review by Chang or not? So far it seems that the ownership is moving along as if it never made this commitment to the fans. I think it would be the right time to hear Chang's review of the season and a rationale for his plans for the future.

Thanks for all of your excellent work.

Posted by: dsheon1 | November 28, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

As for the personnel dept., coming into the 2009 season the most glaring need was in central defense. Pre-season began with nothing remotely approaching a solution. It was a major debacle in the making.

So in addition to a nice draft, they deserve major points for bringing in Jakovic and James, two huge pickups not mentioned above.

I also think the case of Roger is a good illustration of a major factor no-one wants to acknowledge: this isn't a fantasy league, and DCU is nowhere near the top of the football food chain. They simply don't have the luxury of plucking whomever they would want from the trees. (Welcome aboard, Rafa. Here's your cubicle and a Subway Sandwich loyalty card - the tenth footlong's free! And we'll fix that wobbly chair for you any day now.)

I agree that Payne needs to turn over a new leaf, at a minimum, and the Soehn deserved a low-passing grade. He may not have had all the tools he needed or might like, and was excellent in spots, but he also over-managed and under-prepared his squad from game to game.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 28, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse


I'll play your game, but first I've got to point out that a 1 rating more or less means the apocalypse happened as a direct result of a person's actions. For what it's worth, I gave Janicki's disaster against Marathon a 2. For Payne to get a 1, RFK would have had to exploded, DCU would have to be St. Louis United, and Payne would have had to have kicked many a puppy.

Kasper: 5.5. Pontius, Wallace, and Jakovic were great acquisitions. Getting James was, to me, more of a necessary move than a stroke of brilliance. We needed to improve at center back, but in my book James is good depth rather than a starter. The jury's out on Szetela, though I think he stands to benefit the most from a different coach. Negatives would have to include the season-long weakness in goal, not addressing central defense earlier, and bringing back Gomez instead of using that cap room more intelligently. Still, I look at this team and see the foundation of a strong side, so I'll say he did OK. This year, however, the improvements needed are clear; if this team is not a legitimate contender next season, it will be time to evaluate whether Kasper can do this job.

Payne: 4.5. I thought the spat with Hanauer and the "We Win Trophies" campaign brought more passion out of United fans than there would have been if it has just been left to sit. We came off bad on the field because we lost, but I place that defeat on Soehn and the players. Upping the hype around a game doesn't change the object of the game itself, and Payne can't win or lose games. On the down side, the lack of progress on the stadium front is a big problem, and he does have some degree of input on roster decisions. It wasn't his best year, but the strident anger towards him often reads like scapegoating rather than well-thought-out criticism.

Soehn: 4.5. This was a team that, coached to their full potential, gets into the playoffs, advances in the CCL, and at the very least plays better in the Open Cup final. Soehn didn't get any of those objectives. We were far too inconsistent, and the failure to get into the playoffs despite having an absurd 5 game homestand down the stretch is particularly galling. I have always said that Soehn got hammered for things that weren't his fault and didn't get praise for the things he did right, but on the balance I can't see a way to call him anything but below par on the year.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 28, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine a current or future political candidate shaking the hands of a guy clearly lathered up in the shower.

Well, maybe if Larry Craig ran . . .

Posted by: delantero | November 28, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

dsheon1, I stopped reading when you gave Soehn a 7. That's just wrong in so many ways.

He stuck with a 3-5-2 when we clearly didn't have the legs or defense to keep it together.

He rested Jaime and Ben for the last CONCACAF match, but then mysteriously doesn't start EITHER at the most important game of the season @ KC. He then wisely noted that "the guys who played in Mexico were a little gassed."

He subbed out Gomez for Jaime in the first half of a game when Gomez was playing well and was fit. No injury. He made a first half "Tactical" change. . huh?

He allowed the team to crack because there wasn't a leader they respected . . Lucho arguing with Gomez over who was going to take pk? Wicks' attack on Burch? That's just lack of on/off field leadership. And it starts with Soehn off the field.

He made so many changes to the starting 11 that the players never achieved any semblance of rhythm leading Jaime to remark on it after a game.

SEVEN? The guy was a disaster.

Posted by: delantero | November 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Way too nice with a 7 for Soehn. His substitutions were mind boggling. Coaches, generally, don't sub at halftime for a reason and he did it on a regular basis.

He knew what the schedule looked like at the beginning of the season. And, yet, I never recall him putting out his best players on the field for a single game.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | November 28, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The subbing at halftime is not unusual The subbing before halftime was curious.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 28, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I think I gave Soehn at least an additional point or two for no other reason than that I've hijacked this thread and felt a bit guilty....

Posted by: dsheon1 | November 28, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

BOT (Back on Topic): I met Pele once. I was in my early teens, and he was playing for the Cosmos against the Diplomats at WT Woodson High in Fairfax (ah, the good old days!)

I managed to convince the security guard to let me in the locker room after the game, and I walked right up to Pele with my Kodak 110 camera and asked another player to take my picture with the Brazilian star. An incredible memory -- too bad I don't have the photo. At least it's stored in my personal hard drive.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | November 28, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

While we are at it can we grade the medical/fitness staff? All the mismanaged injuries, etc.

Posted by: nyjer1 | November 28, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

"". An incredible memory -- too bad I don't have the photo""

Dude, Find the photo!! If I had that photo, it'd be a 20 x 30 poster in my living room.

Posted by: delantero | November 28, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I've hijacked this thread and felt a bit guilty.... Posted by: dsheon1

Not at all. After having watched ESPN's MLS Cup History hour, I'm reminded about the dynasty that was DC UNITED.

The whole place needs a shakeover, and I thank you for drawing attention to it. If they are going to return to those halcion days, the entirety of the organization needs to be reviewed.

Posted by: delantero | November 28, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

More about Soehn - look, I don't think he'll ever be a great coach, and I know his subs before the half seem strange and deflating (unless there was an injury or player illness we never knew about)but my point is that getting rid of the coach is not going to fix our problems. And I for one do not want to see another year of scapegoating on the coach. He has to be given players who are creative, fast, and disciplined. Jaime is ok off the bench. He never should have been used more than that this year, and I suppose that's Soehn's call. But maybe not. Others could be insisting on the lineup for all we know. I just don't want to see the off season go by with no one addressing more serious issues. Chest - I have posted details many times before about unchecked egos and player complaints. We're no longer a destination team that players want to come play for (ie Ben Olsen).
That's got to change, and it will only change after regime change.

Posted by: dsheon1 | November 28, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I just finished watching DCU-Real Madrid, 2006 version.
It's sad how the guts of the team changed so much for the worse so quickly. Not just that Gomez and Jaime have lost that step or two; it's more that the backbone of the team -- Gros, Carroll, Olsen, Simms -- essentially disappeared.
Soehn had to be more successful with whatever players he had on hand, but it's hard not to feel that fate was terribly unkind.

Posted by: daggar | November 28, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Maryland and Virginia in action today, the latter at Klockner:

It appears that there are audio links for both matches at the above site.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 29, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

One of the most funny (real) stories about Pelé'a 1000th goal: When the counting started to come closer to the number 1000, many bazilian cities were longing to be the place of that momentous event and the soccer championship of 1969 would soon be over. So, Pelé scored goal nr. 999 and the next match would take place in Salvador, Bahia. As soon the referee started the match and the ball rolled, the fans of S.C. Bahia, the local team, booed their own players when they blocked Pelé attempts to score the goal. When the goalkeeper saved a kick from Pelé, the whole stadium, nevertheless full of Bahia cheeres and very few Santos suporters, booed aloud and cursed the poor player.

Posted by: eduardo6 | November 29, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I've hijacked this thread and felt a bit guilty....
Posted by: dsheon1

If you're going to hijack a thread, you must do it with stupid puns. For example:

Ronaldo's tryst with transvestite prostitutes is not that strange. He was merely following in the footsteps of Pay-lay.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 30, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

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