November 7, 2006
Beyond the talk of Freddy Adu possibly moving across the pond, there are other tidbits of speculation out of DC that should be on interest to fans in Rochester.
USL 2nd Division leading scorer Robert Ssejjemba appears to be headed back to the USL after his stint with United after the Richmond Kickers concluded their 2006 campaign. It will be interesting to see if Robert's former teammate in Richmond, Matthew Delicate, is pushing for Ssejjemba to be the next striker brought in to the Rhinos fold.
Rochester native Jamil Walker wasn't brought up in Steven Goff's piece, but he's another offensive minded player that I would hope that the Rhinos would have an interest in this offseason. And given that Walker didn't see a minute of playoff action and was only on DC's active roster in their home game versus NY, Walker being on the lookout for a new home shouldn't be out of the question this off season.
Michael Lewis breaks down the direction that Bruce Arena might take the Red Bulls heading into his first off season in charge.
Lewis expects ex-Rhinos Carlos Mendes and John Wolyniec to be back next season, along with Rochester's adopted soccer son, Dema Kovalenko.
Some players that might not be back, that might pop up on the Rhinos radar are 2005 USL Defender of the Year Taylor Graham. The Rhinos were interested in Graham last off season when they were looking to replace Craig Demmin. Steve Jolley is another defender that the Red Bulls might cut loose and the Rhinos could possibly take a look at.
36 year old outside midfielder Chris Henderson would be a very interesting name to throw out there. Henderson would be able to provide some name recognition, but who knows if he wants to play in the USL for a much smaller paycheck.
Defensive midfielder Danny O'Rourke would appear to be a guy that would be able to hook on with another MLS squad should he be cut loose, but you never know. The same goes for guys like forward Mike Magee and midfielder Blake Camp.
An alternative plan could be seeing about outbidding the Red Bulls for a developmental player like defender-midfielder Elie Ikangu or midfielder Joe Vide who each made less than $20,000 last year.
MLS announces 2006 team executive awards
Unfortunately, Rochester's own Joe Valenti wasn't honored, but plenty of his Houston Dynamo co-workers were.
I was not surprised at all that AEG employee's dominated the awards. DC United received the Ticket Sales Team of the Year Award and AEG employees took home 21 of 30 individual awards.
The most surprising part was the fact that the Colorado Rapids had two people amongst the group sales leaders and the Rapids had problems with attendance for most of the season. That was punctuated by an announced crowd of only 4176 in their lone playoff home game versus FC Dallas.
Bruce Arena's impact on the future of US Soccer
Yanks Abroad's Neil Thurman takes a great look at both the players that Bruce Arena has helped develop in the past and the players such as Josmer Altidore and Marvell Wynne whom Arena will have a huge part in developing for the future of US Soccer as the head man with the New York Red Bulls.
The ironic thing may be that Arena's ability to develop quality players might work against his desire for MLS to loosen the budget restrictions on individual teams now that he's backed by the deep pockets of Red Bull.
If I'm US Soccer and MLS, I'd want Bruce Arena working with younger American players like Altidore and Wynne as opposed to bringing in more expensive veterans with bigger names.
For instance, is it better for the future of the game in the US that Arena works with Danny O'Rourke in the holding midfield spot or Claudio Reyna?
It will be very interesting to see how this all works out for everyone in the long run.
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