This was the first day that we got a chance to talk to Sounders coach Sigi Schmid about Major League Soccer's new designated player rules:
“L.A. has had a couple of DPs for a few years now, so it’s good that it’s official. They’ve had Landon [Donovan] and they’ve had [David] Beckham, so now it’s official. It allows other teams to do the same sort of thing. I think it’s good for the league. It shows that the league is continuing to grow. That we’re in a position now that the ownership group and the Board of Governors have felt that allowing two DPs and possibly a third if you want to buy that slot is something that they feel comfortable. Moving in that direction means that we’re continuing to grow, continuing to evolve as a league. What I think you’re going to see happening is a lot of teams going with maybe even DPs that are a little bit younger; not necessarily DPs that are at the back end of their career, but DPs that are more in their middle of their career, or maybe even at the beginning of their career.”
Then we asked about the challenge of coaching a club that has a millionaire or two in a locker room filled mostly with players making just a fraction of that:
“I’ve had to deal with that. I remember coaching the World Cup team in ’94 and watching the goalkeeper on the team at the time pull in his Mercedes SLK convertible and watching another player on the team pull in his 10-year-old Karmann Ghia. It’s been a constant in U.S. soccer. There’s been a disparity. On that team you had guys that were making 30-40 thousand dollars, and you had guys that were making already well into the hundreds of thousands playing in England. It’s been there. The players it’s not something that they’re going to say it’s our best memory of being in this league. It’s something that they’re sort of used to, and they sort of adjust to. The harder part for a coach is when the DP salary was a higher percentage, what hit your budget, and a couple of DPs really offset what you could do with the rest of the players. Having two good players and having a couple of weak spots isn’t going to make you a good team. You want to have 11 good players out on the field. So by now taking the DP where you can buy down the DPs contract, where it’s less of a hit to the budget cap means that you can carry a DP and not have to deplete necessarily the rest of your roster. It’s rewarding you for taking the ownership for taking the step of going for the DP without depleting your roster.”
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