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A few minutes with Will Chang

D.C. United owner-investor Will Chang flew into Washington for today's kickoff luncheon and Saturday's home opener against the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium. I touched base with him on MLS's new designated player guidelines and the prospects of a new stadium.

Now that MLS has allowed two DPs per team, with the option of purchasing a third, where do you stand on signing a high-profile player this year?

"We are looking at a number of players who might qualify as a DP. Given the transfer window closing soon [April 15], more likely it would be in the summer window. I hate to put probabilities on something like this, but there are a number of players on our radar screen."

With more DP slots, will it affect your approach to building the roster?

"It's not going to change the dynamics of the team as much with the new rules."

But with DPs not impacting the salary cap as much as in the past -- $335,000 instead of $415,000 -- you could do more with the slots, right?

"It helps. The intent of the league was to not penalize the teams and the ownership groups for going the extra distance. The old rules, with the number over $400,000 toward the cap, it was not rewarding. By lowering the number, it made the threshold easier."

What's new with the stadium search?

"We are looking at a number of sites. There are three very, very good prospects and probably another three that we are also looking at. There are a couple locations in D.C. proper and we are also looking at a couple locations in Virginia. There is another site in Maryland we are exploring."

Montgomery County?

"Maybe." [smiling]

How does it make you feel to see almost every team in the league open a new stadium or unveil plans for one?

"It just makes me run a little harder, but I am running. It feels like I am running on a treadmill and not going anywhere but I am running harder because everyone else has got one and has got one started. So I need to work a little harder."

Is Baltimore a realistic option?

"They are the ones leading the charge. We have been more open to discussion by listening. They have been the ones being very aggressive in terms of initiating the economic feasibility study and so we are willing to listen, but I haven't been doing much talking or proposing."

So we can expect an announcement soon for a new stadium somewhere, right?

"I can't say, but shortly. I will let you define 'shortly.' I'd rather not comment on the definition of 'shortly.' "

By Steve Goff  |  April 1, 2010; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
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Next: D.C. United news & notes

Comments

"I can't say, but shortly. I will let you define 'shortly.' I'd rather not comment on the definition of shortly."

He's toying with my emotions! :)

Posted by: TheAMT | April 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I love Will Chang (in a mostly platonic sense), can't wait to pour him a beer on Saturday!

Posted by: dcufan | April 1, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

oh mr. chang you coy mf'er.

Posted by: bearcox13 | April 1, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

(Breathlessly) DOES THAT MEAN THE GAME IS NOT AT RFK THIS SATURDAY??

(head explodes...)

Posted by: JkR- | April 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

OK -- Is any part of this "interview" for real?

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

feed the beast, will! tell us where the potential sites are so we can rant hysterically about whether they will make us stop attending games.

now that I am officially a virginian, I shall complain about anything that is not right next to my house (lazy) plus anything that is next to my house (nimby).

Posted by: troy6 | April 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Gratuitous zzzzzzz.

Posted by: Reignking | April 1, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

6 potential locations...at least we're not putting all our eggs in one basket.

The DP changes are the big news here. I would expect a veritable flood of signings in the summer window. I mean, it's less than $170K to sign a DP at that point. That's less than the cap was raised. Even if you just kept the exact same team from 2009, you'd be able to afford to pick someone up.

In the words of Eric Wynalda, this is going to get interesting.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 1, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Well in troy6

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Troy, you lazy, nimby mf'er....

If the interview is real -- I would like to point out that the international transfer deadline and the injury bug should not be a reason to throw up their hands. It should be the impetus to go out and get someone, fast. There will be time and cap room to look at other players in July...

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

That's the spirit, Troy! You're fitting right in! Now grouse concurrently about your tax burden and the dismal state of your school and roads!

:)

Posted by: JkR- | April 1, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

fischy:

The DP news is definitely real. Naturally, MLS picks April Fools Day to announce real news.

troy6:

Well played.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 1, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

April Fools Day joke, Goff?


That said, the few times I've met Mr. Chang at DCU games out here he's always been very nice, passionate, and always smiles and laughs each time I ask him about the stadium situation.

Plus, last year even he liked the picture of a metrosexual Ladycakes' drinking from a water fountain that I taped to the back of jersey.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 1, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time I am starting to believe that the front office was planning on making a DP signing, but failed to get one on board with their attention elsewhere (to their credit, the coaching turmoil and the strike were very distracting).

It sounds like we're getting one. In any case, we better get the team back on track before we lose our chance at the playoffs.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 1, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

What is so great about Will Chang? We still don't have a stadium, we don't have any real prospect of a stadium, and we still have a bad soccer team.

Posted by: Ron16 | April 1, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Every answer he gave was encouraging, though not overly informative. I think United is heading in the right direction, but might need another season and a few players to get there. At the same time, this team is no worse than the start of 2004 team that was one Gomez away from winning MLS CUP.

Posted by: Dancy1 | April 1, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@Troy -- If you're a Virginian, your real concerns are threefold: You're concerned about prior state rules that protected homosexuals on university campuses and in state employment; you want to make sure that no abortions occur in Virginia; and you want to make sure Virginia opts out of the new federal law that would give Virginians greater access to health insurance.

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Because he's a nice guy that comes to tailgates and has beer with the fans despite being a multi-millionaire, and he's a guy who clearly loves the club despite not being from DC or even being based here, and because he's got a great sense of humor. He's as nice as can be, he's on Twitter, he gave Drew Carey the Eagles' "The Price Is Wrong" T-shirt...etc.

He inspires calm and confidence in the future of our club. And for that reason he is a great owner.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | April 1, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

What is so great about Will Chang? We still don't have a stadium, we don't have any real prospect of a stadium, and we still have a bad soccer team.

Posted by: Ron16

And you're still around.

Posted by: Reignking | April 1, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I just added a few more stadium quotes from Chang.....

Posted by: Steve Goff | April 1, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I can't say, but shortly. I will let you define 'shortly.' I'd rather not comment on the definition of shortly."

******
Well that depends on what your definition of "is" is.....

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | April 1, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Every answer he gave was encouraging, though not overly informative. I think United is heading in the right direction, but might need another season and a few players to get there. At the same time, this team is no worse than the start of 2004 team that was one Gomez away from winning MLS CUP.

Posted by: Dancy1 | April 1, 2010 1:11 PM
_______________________________________
^^^ This. Plus, I love the guy who called DC United a "bad team," after a grand total of one game. You haven't seen bad unless you watched the 2000-2002 DCU. That was bad.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | April 1, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

re: "Because he's a nice guy that comes to tailgates and has beer with the fans despite being a multi-millionaire, and he's a guy who clearly loves the club despite not being from DC or even being based here, and because he's got a great sense of humor. He's as nice as can be, he's on Twitter, he gave Drew Carey the Eagles' "The Price Is Wrong" T-shirt...etc.

He inspires calm and confidence in the future of our club. And for that reason he is a great owner.

Posted by: VercengetorixII"

Well isn't that special?

If I had to make a choice I'd rather have an aloof owner who would at least get us some players who are competitive in this league. Other than Jaime and Perkins we don't have much.

Posted by: Ron16 | April 1, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

At the same time, this team is no worse than the start of 2004 team that was one Gomez away from winning MLS CUP.

Posted by: Dancy1 | April 1, 2010 1:11 PM

Really? Look at 2004, without Gomez:

(A much younger) Jaime Moreno - Esky - Convey - Cerritos - Quaranta

Stewart - Kovalenko - Carroll - Quintanillo - Adu - Gros

Prideaux - Hendrickson - Nelsen - Petke - Namoff

Rimando
------------

I don't even know how many of the 2010 team would even make the '04 roster, much less see any time on the pitch. That's 17 players who would probably all make the game-day 18 on this year's team. Quaranta's on both teams, so he's in -- that leaves open two other slots for 2010 players on the game-day 18. I guess Perkins would back-up Rimando. Castillo or Pontius would give that team some depth. Maybe Jakovic or Peña might have a shot at starting next to Nelsen...or not.

Really, at most, only a handful of the current players would have a chance of making the game-day roster of the pre-Gomez 2004 team. I don't even think Jaime of 2010 would make the 2004 game-day 18.

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@fischy

I agree there is not reason to write the season off. There may be a signing or two that will help this team with the number of issues it has. Also Namoff coming back will help.

Posted by: no_recess | April 1, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Georgetown, GW, George Mason, The UnAmerican University, Catholic..somebody has got to have land on their Campus to build a mid-size stadium with a Parking Garage....

Posted by: godpere | April 1, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Georgetown? GW? Sure, tons of cheap land there.

Posted by: Reignking | April 1, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

thats like saying my manhood is shortly, but i'll let you define what shortly means after you see my size 16 shoes

Posted by: SexyOffender | April 1, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"I guess Perkins would back-up Rimando. Castillo or Pontius would give that team some depth. Maybe Jakovic or Peña might have a shot at starting next to Nelsen...or not." --fischy

Imagining that kind of depth. Auughhhh.

Posted by: redskinsux | April 1, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"Georgetown, GW, George Mason, The UnAmerican University, Catholic..somebody has got to have land on their Campus to build a mid-size stadium with a Parking Garage...."

You left off the most realistic option - Howard. Central location, they could really use a new stadium, metro access, and it would be a huge feather in their cap. If we were thinking Ward 8, there is NO reason we should not be thinking Howard.

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 1, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

My fault I fear......I thought that you'd want what I want......Sorry, my dear.....
Where are the NIMBY's?....Send in the NIMBY's.....There ought to be NIMBY's.....


The Howard location would have tradition behind it. That is where Griffith stadium once stood.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 1, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@ Poopy - was that Ladycakes or "Landycakes" on your shirt?

Posted by: soccerman | April 1, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

fischy, I think it's time for you to find employment.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 1, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't even know how many of the 2010 team would even make the '04 roster, much less see any time on the pitch.
Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:39 PM

Yep - no need to even dissect it. When I saw that comment, first person I thought of was Ryan Nelsen. He's better than anyone United has at the moment - and probably better than anyone in MLS.

--

You left off the most realistic option - Howard. Central location, they could really use a new stadium, metro access, and it would be a huge feather in their cap. If we were thinking Ward 8, there is NO reason we should not be thinking Howard.

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 1, 2010 2:23 PM

I say this with all due respect to Howard -- they are kind of a mess right now. Their athletic department is in complete shambles and has been for about a decade. A new stadium is the least of their concerns - the one they have suits their team fine for the moment. Plus, the Howard campus is small and penned in on all sides. Not much room to develop.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 1, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse


Is Baltimore a realistic option?

"They are the ones leading the charge. We have been more open to discussion by listening. They have been the ones being very aggressive in terms of initiating the economic feasibility study and so we are willing to listen, but I haven't been doing much talking or proposing."

MSA response to the same question

"Baltimore City asked MSA to conduct an economic study for a potential DC United venue in the Westport area of the City. We recently started this initiative and expect to be completed later this year."

Please let me know of any further questions.

Thanks,

Gary

Gary McGuigan LEED A.P.

Project Executive

Maryland Stadium Authority

(410) 333-1560 p
(410) 333-1888 f

Posted by: Zipfutbol | April 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the DP situation is why we haven't signed top notch playmaker or striker, we we're sure if we'd be able to have both or what the salary impacts would be? At least i hope thats the reason for the delay (not the lack of a stadium and undefined future) and they plan on signing two this summer. Its a long time to wait though.

I'll agree with the statement that Chang's answers were a reason to be optimistic without really saying anything. He may be a great guy, but he's not a great owner just yet. I'm willing to give him a little more time though (not like i have a choice) to come through. I'd rather take a year or two longer to get a better situation that just take the first opportunity to get a stadium that isn't the best longterm deal for the team.

Posted by: Brian76 | April 1, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@fischy
Do you remember Ezra Hendrickson's play? I would take Rodney Wallace over him in a hummingbird's heartbeat. Hendrickson and the immortal David Stokes (!) were on the bench for our MLS Cup triumph, good thing we actually had some quality players on the bench. Oh to have that problem again would be nice...

Posted by: gmAndAguinness. | April 1, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't even think Jaime of 2010 would make the 2004 game-day 18.

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse
==========================================

Fischy, you're forgetting one of the fundamental laws of time travel. 2010 Jaime cannot meet 2004 Jaime, or the ensuing space-time continuum disruption would cause a black hole!

Hmmm, maybe that explains last season...

Posted by: edgeonyou | April 1, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

So what you're saying is that we need a hot tub time machine? Would the city be paying for it or does Chang need to find additional investors?

Posted by: Kev29 | April 1, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

TIME MASHEEN!

Posted by: VTUnited | April 1, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@edgeonyou: You should rent the new Star Trek movie.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

If I had to make a choice I'd rather have an aloof owner who would at least get us some players who are competitive in this league. Other than Jaime and Perkins we don't have much.

Posted by: Ron16

--------

You mean like the guy in SLC? He's pissing people off, building a stadium faster than just about any franchise around, and winning championships. Crazy talk!

Posted by: mbyrd28 | April 1, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Well isn't that special?

If I had to make a choice I'd rather have an aloof owner who would at least get us some players who are competitive in this league. Other than Jaime and Perkins we don't have much.

Posted by: Ron16
---------------------------------

You don't have a choice, and on the spectrum of owners you could also have the passionate incompetence of Daniel Snyder.

I like Will. I don't blame him for the stadium situation (yet). DC does have a unique set of circumstances -- primarily the multiple juridictions/states and the Nats' stadium debacle, plus this crap economy. He's got to get it done, though. And for God's sake, don't go to Loudon County or Laurel, MD -- stadiums in the exurbs suck! (nothing against those places, btw).

The one thing I'll say for Syder is that he grew up in the area. Our owner doesn't even live here. That is a bit of a bummer.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | April 1, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Moses to God: When will we reach the Promiseland?

God to Moses: Shortly


Posted by: boda-united | April 1, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I can almost see something like Mason working a land deal if DCU chips in to improve a circulator like bus to the main campus. That could be a less than stellar but palatable option than locating within the district.

Posted by: dcserge | April 1, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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