Friday, January 8, 2010

Peter Vermes interview Jan 7, 2010 - Part 1

I went down to the Wizards training center to talk with Coach/Technical Director Peter Vermes yesterday. As you can see, it was a little snowy down there.

I apologize in advance for the audio on these interviews. A new computer and different software combined to make it quieter than normal. I hop to correct that for the next interviews...

In Part 1 Peter talks about going to the combine, evaluating players, scouting the local area for players, signing new players and how that changes the draft strategy and early picks versus later picks.

Peter Vermes interview Jan 7, 2010 - Part 2

Part 2
Peter talks about Herculez leaving, still trying to sign Kei, not sure where Claudio stands yet, Hartman and Kronberg being out of contract, players training with Dinamo Zagreb, talk about signing some offensive help, Onalfo in DC.

The biggest surprise for me was that I did not realize Hartman and Kronberg were both out of contract. While the Wizards are not the only MLS team without a healthy MLS caliber keeper on the roster, it is a little worrisome at this point.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Herron rumors false and waiting to announce players

There were rumors circulating around that the Wizards were interested in signing Andy Herron and bringing him back to MLS again. Reports from Costa Rica were that the Wizards could sign Herron as soon as Friday.

All my sources were stating that the rumors were false and Robb Heineman confirmed that there was "nothing to the herron stuff". The Wizards were not talking to Herron.

Robb also informed the fans that the two players (central defender and a holding mid) he tweeted about could not be announced yet. The lawyers wanted him to hold off pending the P1 visa applications process. Not sure why you can't or shouldn't say who you want to sign based upon a visa application.

The central defender is one of the three Colombians that MLS signed recently. The players: America De Cali central defender Edward Zea, Deportivo Cali central defender Pablo Escobar and Deportes Quindio central defender Hanyer Mosquera are all highly regarded prospects.

The midfielder is interesting. If it is the player I think it is, he looks good in the video clips I have seen.

I am working on getting an interview with Vermes this week. Hopefully I can find out a little more by then.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Onalfo introduced in DC today

Curt Onalfo was introduced to the DC fans in a press conference Tuesday morning. He is the 6th head coach at DC United and is replacing the "not returning" Tom Soehn. Onalfo announced his staff Tuesday as well. He is reuniting with Kris Kelderman, his top assistant in Kansas City and he is retaining goalkeepers coach Mark Simpson. Recently retired Ben Olsen was added as well.

Curt Onalfo played in DC in 1998-99 and was an assistant there from 2000 through 2002. Curt then was an assistant with the National Team prior to becoming the head coach in Kansas City in 2007. Coach Onalfo was dismissed from Kansas City mid season of 2009.

Onalfo took over a Wizards team that had not made the playoffs for two years and was able to incrementally increase the team's performance to get them into the playoffs. Possible his greatest success was with Eddie Johnson. In 2006, Johnson scored 2 goals in 19 appearances. Onalfo was able to motivate Johnson in the 2007 season and Eddie scored 15 goals in 24 games and attracted the attention of Fulham in England.

During the 2008 season when it looked as if the Wizards would need a miraculous turn around to get to the playoffs, Coach Onalfo never wavered, never stopped believing that the team would get there. This optimism and faith is some his greatest strengths. While some fans may have criticized Onalfo for always being optimistic, it was never an act. He believed.

This optimism is a result of Curt's life. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when he was 24. It was in an advanced state and Curt fought through intense chemotherapy for six months. His positive outlook and determination carried him through and he now carries that in all aspects of his life. That fight sapped his ability to play (he did try for a few more years) but led him into coaching. Onalfo worked his way through various assistant jobs to be in consideration for head coaching jobs, eventually landing in Kansas City.

While Coach Onalfo's optimism and positive outlook can be his greatest strengths, it can also lead to some of his issues. He believes in his players, his men. That can lead him to moving players out of position believing those players can overcome and perform no matter where they play. Much of Onalfo's playing, assistant coaching and learning came at the National Team levels. At that level you can take your best players and put them on the field and expect them to be able to play that position with a few exceptions. At the club level it is not that easy. Just believing that a player can move to another position and start right away does not work as often. Others have described this as too much tinkering, I call it too much optimism and faith.

With all that said I have a lot of respect for Curt. Coach, I would like to wish you good luck professionally but since you are in DC I can not really do that. I do wish you and your family all the best.