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Perkins to MLS?

Might former D.C. United goalkeeper Troy Perkins return to the States after two years with Valerenga in Norway? That's what I am hearing.

If it does come to fruition, Perkins would be subject to MLS's allocation process because he is in the national team player pool. United no longer maintains his MLS rights, having received compensation in the form of a transfer fee in the deal with Valerenga after the 2007 season. (Clubs retain the rights to players who sign overseas only if attempts were made to re-sign an out-of-contract player or if no fee was collected.)

Expansion Philadelphia is first on the allocation list. Union already has two goalkeepers: Chris Seitz, in a trade with Real Salt Lake, and Brad Knighton, claimed in the expansion draft from New England. Seitz, a prized draft pick from Maryland who played for Union Coach Peter Nowak on the U.S. under-23 team, seems ready to be a full-time starter in MLS after sitting behind Nick Rimando at RSL. But Perkins also played for Nowak (at DCU) and has the experience to step right into what would be a challenging situation with a first-year club.

United, meantime, needs a goalkeeper badly. Josh Wicks is sidelined until mid-March, and even when healthy, might not be the long-term answer. The club also has second-year Milos Kocic and academy signee Bill Hamid.

Would United be willing to swing a major trade to move to the top of the allocation list?

Perkins, on winter break from Valerenga, is participating in U.S. training camp at Home Depot Center. With three keepers set to make the World Cup squad, he appears to be battling Marcus Hahnemann for the No. 3 slot behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan .

Hopefully I will have more details Tuesday.

By Steve Goff  |  January 12, 2010; 1:21 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Tuesday Kickaround


If we could get Perkins, our squad would look dramatically better from that alone...

Posted by: TassieTiger | January 12, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

I guess it depends on what Nowak wants, but I would hope we make a serious offer. I mean, if Nowak says "You can move up the list in exchange for Jakovic and Pontius", then obviously things are out of line.

The problem for us is that Nowak knows we don't have a good keeper. For him to strengthen both the Union's most likely rival and a divisional foe, we aren't getting away with sending them, say, Szetela or Fred. To make this deal (or, if Nowak wants to keep Perkins aboard and move Seitz), we're going to lose a starter that we currently think highly of.

This is something we'd all love to see happen, but the price is going to be big.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 12, 2010 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Save us Troy!!!

We need a proven goalkeep. Wicks will work his way out of the league this year. The question of can we afford to give up a good veteran from a very questionable squad or go the other route and offer the Union our first round draft pick? Atleast we know this pick will pan out and fill a GLARING hole on our team.

Posted by: niknakdcu | January 12, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Perkins for first round draft pick.

Best move DCU can make!

Posted by: niknakdcu | January 12, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Just wow.

Posted by: redskinsux | January 12, 2010 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Why would Troy come back? It says here that he was earning twice what he was with DC United (, he has stated that the Norwegian league is faster than its U.S./Canadian counterpart, and after leaving DC United he made some unfavorable comments about the MLS...

Posted by: bartapest1 | January 12, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Peter Vermes, although born in New Jersey, is the son of Hungarian immigrants (similar to fellow Jersey boy Tim Howard, whose mother is from Hungary).

Posted by: bartapest1 | January 12, 2010 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Come back Troy.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 12, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what it takes...get Perkins back.
Worst case scenario....if Philly wants him then gets Seitz on the medio cheap.
Folks...we need a goalkeeper...its a clear, and obvious weakness that we've had the past two years.
I can say with 100% certainty that DC United makes the playoffs in the last two years if we'd have had a good goalkeeper. (not great...just good)
Remember...1pt more and we make the playoffs in 09...don't remember 08 but I know it was really close and I know that our GK's pissed away at least 3 pts that season..

Posted by: matthewjfyoungs | January 12, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm kind of confused by this -- it must be a personal decision, because he is the starter, and is making 500k (I think)? So, playing time and money isn't an issue.

Maybe he isn't going bald quickly enough, and is worried about his position on the USMNT?

Posted by: Reignking | January 12, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm kind of confused by this -- it must be a personal decision, because he is the starter, and is making 500k (I think)?
Posted by: Reignking

Perhaps his wife was having difficulties finding a job, or wanted to come back to the states due to all the action on health care. Maybe they want to raise their kid in the US - whatever the reason, I hope DC makes significant (but reasonable) efforts to get him back


Is your wife working there?

"No. She graduated from Auburn with a degree in pharmacy, and she can't get a job in Norway because she doesn't speak Norwegian. She could be a pharmacist or work alongside a doctor. She was going to come back here to Washington to work and learn the language, but then we found out she's pregnant. So she has stayed. The health care takes care of everything. It has worked out in the end. She'll learn the language there and, that way, when we're settled with the baby, she'll be ready to go."

Posted by: emanon13 | January 12, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Theres no way Perkins makes 500K a year. I remember Goff saying the contract was about 200k per year. Its expensive to live in Norway and or his wife might want to come home? Who knows.

5 year deal, so he would be cutting his contract short by 3 years.

Posted by: strago | January 12, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse


Perkins got lit up in that Super Liga where he made that critical mistake, and then the season was downhill after that. He was like a deer caught in headlights...No thanks...

Posted by: alan19 | January 12, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

People forget that, even in professional sports, athletes make career decisions based on personal factors. It may be that Mrs. Perkins wants to resume her career here in the States or maybe both of them just miss living at home and being close to their families. That said, Troy would be giving up significant change -- I can't imagine making him more than $200 K here and that may be generous. He is a national team player, but is more or less still under the radar. Not sure how much MLS is willing to pay him, especially when he has surrendered his leverage.

Posted by: jofij | January 12, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see United bring Troy home. Or if Philly wants him then Chris Seitz could also be an upgrade for us.

The way I see it, Philadelphia would have three options:
1. Pass on Perkins and save their allocation, meaning he would fall to NYRB
2. Sign Perkins and trade him
3. Sign Perkins and trade Chris Seitz

If it's option 2 or 3, then DC would certainly look to be a likely spot for either one of them. There are only so many teams who would be willing to trade for a goalkeeper. I could see Colorado, Dallas, and NY being our main competition. So this is where I actually think I disagree with Chest. Nowak might rather have Fred or Szetela than any player that any of those three teams might offer.

I think we've got a shot at making this happen.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 12, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

If United trades their #1 pick to Philly just to select Perkins, then I don't have any faith left in the front office.

You can't make decisions based on emotion. Perkins was a very good goalkeeper for this team, but he's not worth the #7 pick, especially if that pick can be a GenAdidas player (who won't count against the cap for at least one season).

If United obtains Perkins, he will be a major cap hit. While Goff paints a not so rosy picture of United's keeper situatiion (to be fair, it ain't the best) it's not exactly what it was in 2008 either. This team got good goalkeeping for the majority of last season. Their problems were more basic than goalkeeper incompetence.

Troy Perkins won't fix that problem. Thanks, but no thanks..

Posted by: ARickey | January 12, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

While it would be nice to get Troy back, I would not be in favor of giving away anything of substance from a team already stretched for quality. These guys are young and are about to gel and become a force, breaking them up or giving away substantial parts (which if I were Nowak I would settle for nothing less) would be quite counterproductive and set us back even further from returning to the MLS elite.

I say we try to get that kid from Portland or look somewhere else because Troy might come at a hefty, hefty price.

I hope the FO uses their heads instead of their hearts on this one. The fans will always use their hearts (and call for Troy at any cost), hey that's why we're fans. This is a situation that needs some objective thought - regretfully, an area that I find our FO lacking in over the past few years with some of the emotional call-backs they have made.

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 12, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Wicks + whoever we get in the draft > Perkins

emanon13: that's what was in the back of my mind. Interesting, too, that he isn't looking elsewhere in Europe.

Posted by: Reignking | January 12, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

If Perkins is making 200K in Norway that's probably down to 100K with the crazy taxes they pay, plus the cost of living his higher. I don't think he would be that much of a cap hit. A solid keeper makes our back line a lot better. Go get'em!

Posted by: mbyrd28 | January 12, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey Piotr - When you left us we thought you'd coach the olympic team for a few cycles and then move on to coach the Polish national team. We were kinda bummed when you came back to MLS to coach our now closest division rival.

Plus - the "Union"? could you bite off our name anymore?

Now you can make it up to us. Third round pick for that allocation spot. Whattya say?

Posted by: joe_hill | January 12, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I think I got the 500k number from the Adu/Odense negotiations. There's some foreign limit for Denmark, so I had 500k in my head.

Posted by: Reignking | January 12, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

To get Perkins could we: Trade Christian Gomez and the rights to Ben Olsen and Marco Etcheverry, our 4th round pick in the draft and the groundskeeper guy who used permanent white ink for the pointy-ball lines on the pitch.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 12, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Frustrating that it seems every other player who ever went overseas is still owned by an MLS club... except if they came from DC. Whatever.

I think it would be great if we got Perkins, almost as good if we got Seitz. But really, if we trade any of our younger prospects, we're robbing peter to pay paul. Really hope Fred could be bait enough for either.

As for the draft, what we Need to be doing is trading UP. Get a second rounder. Let's see what happens.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

First, I think it's a bit funny and ironic how the sentiment when Troy left was effectively "good riddance--we can do better" and now the general sentiment is "thank god--we need him."

1. I think we'd benefit tremendously from him. No, Wicks isn't an option. He's out till after the season started, won't be sharp by then and even still is a great shot stopper who takes big risks and blows his stack. Maybe Onalfo would manage him better (we didn't see that behavior by Wicks under Arena) but that's a big bet to be taking. Anyway, to count on Wicks as the starter is to acquire another sub (it's unfair to Hamid to put him as the #2 when Kocics could get hurt or tank it) and assume Wicks will return to form quickly. What if he doesn't? What if it takes till mid-season for him to be both healthy and sharp?

2. You have to figure that Dallas would jump at the chance to get him. He's a major upgrade over their current talent, would add some veteran stability to a young defense. NYRB would probably go for him if for no other reason that he's one of the few Americans that their Norwegian GM and Swedish coach have seen in play. I'd take Perkins over Coudoul any day (though maybe he's got a guaranteed contract which would complicate life for NYRB on this decision).

3. I hope we get a good player at #7. But I'm not so prepared to say it will be another Wallace or Pontius. First, last year was probably the deepest draft in MLS history. There is a big dropoff after the top 4 this year. Second, we drafted incredibly well and developed those two players well--consensus pre-draft was that Jeremy Hall was head and shoulders above Wallace who was much more raw. Pontius was regarded by most as the third or fourth best forward in the draft (even further behind if you counted the guys who went to Europe).

4. I have no idea how this plays out. But I doubt that Nowak is into behaving like the Columbus GM always has (about trying to screw everyone he can and ask for the maximum in compensation even if it costs you the deal). I think there is a good chance that Nowak could pass b/c he'd prefer to keep the top stop in the allocation pecking order for someone else who might come home (what if Beasley wanted to do so?--Nowak would jump at that mid-season).

5. As for the cap considerations, if it takes $200k to get it done, that's fine. We've tried the budget goalkeeper approach in the past and it's come back to bite us on the ass.

6. The concern that no-one else has mentioned is this: if we do acquire Perkins and he does make the WC squad then we're losing our starting GK for about 2.5 months (given camps, warmups and then the WC itself. Which means we must have someone (Wicks?) we feel comfortable starting.

Posted by: JoeW1 | January 12, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Just thought: Wouldn't it be great if, for some veteran creativity, Nowak was willing to trade Seitz and their second round draft pick. I still think something Can be got out of Fred, I'd rather that be someone elses conundrum. But we would get pick 7 and 17, the second one we could still bag a McInerney, a Combine surprise, or the second best defender behind Opara, Kwame Watson-Siriboe. Meaning: We'd have cover in all the areas we wanted, and we could then go out and buy one or two offensive talents from overseas.

Of course, this all rides on Fred's worth to a very efficient manager.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 12, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm drinking the opposite flavor of KoolAid to whatever Alan19 and ARickey are having.

Troy Perkins would be a huge upgrade. It's worth trading any single player on DC's roster, or the #1 pick if that's all Philly wants, to get the slot that would allow us to acquire him. And he's worth $200K out of our salary cap.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 12, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm in the camp of those that this is a personal decision by Troy. Notice he mentioned that his wife was going to move back to DC before she got pregnant. I'm guessing that Troy and his wife truly liked DC and would like to move back. As somebody who moved away and had a self-imposed 2 years to decide if we liked the move (we didn't and returned to DC), this scenario is very familiar. That doesn't mean that we land Troy--but some of us might end up with a new neighbor. He is a good guy, would be very good in goal for us. Whether he fits in our plans and scheme, that is unclear.

Posted by: jnel | January 12, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone who's suggesting we're going to trade a draft pick for Troy Perkins is forgetting one important thing:

Troy would have to become MLS property and be allocated before the draft on Thursday.

Does anyone here really think that's going to happen?

Posted by: DCU_Rick | January 12, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse


If a new CBA (god willing) is passed soon could this allocation system disappear?

In which case we could sign Perkins without trading anything :)

Posted by: invncbl | January 12, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Peter Vermes, although born in New Jersey, is the son of Hungarian immigrants (similar to fellow Jersey boy Tim Howard, whose mother is from Hungary).

Posted by: bartapest1 | January 12, 2010 5:20 AM


Any other soccer-related Hungarian tidbits you care to share? I'm the son of a Hungarian immigrant, too. Whoopee!

Is there an award for the most bizarre off-topic contribution in Soccer Insider history?

Posted by: fischy | January 12, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to have Perkins back, but let's not get crazy here. Moving up in the allocation order to get Perkins is not worth the 7th pick in the draft. Especially since DC doesn't have a 2nd rd. pick in what promises to be the deepest draft yet.

Philly has more pressing needs, anyway. Nowak wouldn't use the allocation to take Perkins, unless he's ready to deal Seitz. I would be OK with DCU trading for Seitz. If they deal for Perkins, they either need to deal something other than the 1st round pick, or get something else in return -- maybe Philly's 2nd rd. pick.

Posted by: fischy | January 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

My Uncle was Hungarian.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 12, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff should to put quotes around "transfer fee" when he talks about the Perkins deal. The roll of nickles DCU walked away with bought 5 games of M Gallardo. They left millions sitting on that negotiating table. Total debacle. That was truly the beginning of the end of great soccer (or put differently, a FO gone mad) in DC. They significantly degraded their own product and killed themselves financially, causing Payne and Kasper to lose the few marbles they had left. Sorry, one soft goal in SuperLiga doesn't begin to explain, justify, or rationalize this.

Somehow... DCU won the Shield in '07 with an abominable defense. Perkins basically covered the sweeper position in addition to holding down GK duties. He was, far and away, the best pure athlete on the team, and the GK position has been a mess ever since. The 'good-riddance' crowd were either ignorant, crazy, or amnesiac, apparently forgetting the ridiculous frequency with which Perkins bailed out this team.

Dallas instantly becomes a very dangerous team if they land him. DCU easily has the cap room to swing a deal if that's what they want. They'd both be crazy not to at least send up some balloons.

Wicks is the only guy in house that has even come close to Perkins' athleticism. In terms of skill he's adequate as an MLS starter. What I worry about is not just his absence due to injury, but the indefinite lack of match fitness -- his greatest asset -- once he's healed.

That said, Perkins was a college draftee who pretty much came out of nowhere. Young keepers can and do excel when given the chance. So I wouldn't panic if DCU stands pat and focuses on/invests in its attack.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | January 12, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Geez fischy, are you picking up these prickish flaming tendencies over at SBI?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

He'd also be a huge pickup for NYRB. Their GK situation is worse than ours.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | January 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

On Topic: As much as I liked Perkins I don't think he's worth going after at any outrageous cost. If Philly wants to trade him for Wicks and Burch maybe... I guess I'd let Fred go for him, but I bet we'd regret that when Fred juggles into the box right past McTavish(cuz Namoff is still out) and draws a penalty from some crazy red card tackle by Jakovich... Then maybe Wicks stomps on him and puts Jakovich in a headlock and gets ejected...

In all seriousness though, if we end up with Wicks in the coming season, I wouldn't fret too much as long as he can stay healthy. I think he got a stern talking to about some of his melt downs and I'm sure he's had a lot of time to think about it, and if he's not kicked to the curb he'll come in with a lot of enthusiasm about doing the right things this season.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 12, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

bartapest1 wrote: "Why would Troy come back? . . .(snip) . . .and after leaving DC United he made some unfavorable comments about the MLS..."

Presumably one of those unfavorable comments was referring to the League as "the MLS"?

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | January 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm very Hungarian! AND lunch is still 2 hours away. Maybe I'll have some Turkey (I hope it's not Chile!)and eat it on China and wash it down with some Scotch!

Troy would be good to get him. But not worth losing good talent. I still remember the ball going through his hands in a important game south of the border!

Posted by: boda-united | January 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

On the money front, Perkins' family could come out ahead by moving back to the U.S. He could probably get $100K to play in MLS and his wife can make $80-100K/year as a pharmacist. As previously mentioned, they wouldn't have to pay the crazy Norwegian taxes so they would at least be breaking even and get to live in their home country.

Posted by: PeteO1 | January 12, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Imagine if a talent like Perkins were in the draft - he'd be a first round pick, right?

Absolutely trade a draft pick for him (assuming that were possible). Bird in the hand... and a much needed position filled.

There's no other chance to pick up a Nat-caliber keeper. And ties to DCU seal it. We haven't had a reliable keeper since Troy left (with the possible exception of Cronin). I'd do whatever it takes to get him back between the pipes.

Imagine... Perkins, Namoff, Jakovic, Wallace, James... We might actually have a defense coming together!

Posted by: -rke- | January 12, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Dad -- I think you may be on to something -- except I think you're overstating your case. My comment just pointed out the strangeness of the comment about Vermes. I can't imagine why the poster offered that information. near as I can guess, he's excited about reading the piece over at ESPN about the experiences of Vermes and Trittschuh as the first American internationals playing in Europe.

It's a great piece, but there's no link made to anything in this thread -- just some Hungarian-American expressing some ethnic/national pride, I guess...which is fine, if it's even loosely connected to the discussion here.

Anyway -- if you're interested in Vermes -- or Trittschuh -- or the history of USA players in Europe -- here's the link:

Posted by: fischy | January 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Glad you don't seem offended fischy, just noticed that your snark has had more bite as of late, noticed it bleeding over a bit onto the more mild mannered SI...:)

I'm not really sure why bart decided to repost a comment he'd already made in the previous thread, where it was somewhat relevant in this thread. Maybe he was drunk...;)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 12, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"The health care takes care of everything."

What a lovely statement? I wonder if it is run by the Norwegian Government? Woops, wrong forum!

Posted by: no_recess | January 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

United GK situation is, to put it mildly, unsettled.

The college draft pool is, to put it mildly, shallow.

The club should explore all avenues to bring Troy back. The price may end up being to high, but they have to at least try.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | January 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And what better teacher for Bill Hamid or Kocic than Troy??

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | January 12, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

They HAVE to try to get Troy. Not sure what Philly wants in return, but we have to at least try to swing a deal.

Posted by: jsm91 | January 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Just how is the national team pool defined? Anyone who has been capped in the past year? Two years?

Posted by: universityandpark | January 12, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

$12.50 for an Big Mac Extra Value meal at McDonalds in Oslo.

That's why Troy is coming back.

Posted by: big_spaniel | January 12, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse


The fact that Dallas has stuck with Sala this long tells me they have no idea what a good keeper is. Honestly, it's incomprehensible that they didn't improve there years ago.

On points 5 and 6, I agree completely. We have been scrimping defensively for a long time, and it's a big problem for us. You can't play the attacking style we want with the defenders we've had. When you attack in numbers, you will end up defending with fewer players and/or players organized in a less-than-ideal fashion. Good defenders can cover those flaws up, but you need all your defenders (and your keeper) to be good to do it. Obviously, that has not been the case here. Let's not forget that Arena's United teams always had great defenders.

Perkins departing for the WC would be a problem, but if the choice is Perkins for most of the season or Wicks/equivalent for the whole season, I'll take having a couple months of bad keeping over a full season of it.


I wish I had your trust in Wicks. I don't even care that much about his temper. I mean, it's a problem, but to me it's like problem #5 or 6 on a long list. His decision making is a massive problem that will cause goals both directly (via his actual mistakes) and indirectly (because his teammates cannot trust him, they try to do too much).


That's my line of thinking. The #7 pick, in this draft, doesn't look like it's going to address any of our major needs. We're not going to get Mwanga, Bunbury, Tchani, or Opara at that position. There is a chance that who we take (Stahl? Loyd?) pans out, but Perkins a) addresses an immediate need and b) is more of a sure thing. 2009's United team was old, but now we've had Olsen retire, Emilio sign elsewhere, Gomez with one foot out the door, and Moreno likely starting only half the time (or less). We'll be young in 2010, so getting someone from a draft that's less deep than last year is less essential than providing a young team with some stability.


Frankly, I'm stunned that the one shot that slipped through his hands against Chivas outweighs the fact that he played quite well for most of his time here in many minds here. Has anyone seen him play for the national team? He's progressed in Norway, and he was already good when he left.

I am not of the opinion that we absolutely must sign Perkins. However, if it's not him, it has to be someone else in his neighborhood. Our current keeping situation is flat-out unacceptable if this team is supposed to make forward progress. We need to get someone better; if we can do that without losing a good player (most likely meaning a player outside MLS), that's the better option. If we have no better ideas, then I would hope we're pursuing Perkins right now.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 12, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm not saying Wicks is the answer. I just think he could have a much better season if he comes in healthy, he's given the chance, and they quit screwing around with the 3-5-2. The one thing I am confident about is that he's had to have had some time to think about his mistakes, and if given a chance to stay I think he might be highly motivated to get it right this time.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 13, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

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