The second installment of The Full 90's weekly Q&A session features Kansas City Wizards coach Peter Vermes. On the agenda: Designated players. What do the new rules mean for the Wizards, what is the team looking for and what the future may hold. The cliff's notes: The team is actively scouting, don't expect the player they do find to be an attacker and pay attention as the summer transfer window opens. Plus some stuff I never knew about the Claudio Lopez negotiations. Question: The last/only designated player in Kansas City was Claudio Lopez. Do you believe he was a successful DP? Vermes: I think absolutely he was a success here. I think from a number of perspectives he was a success. First and foremost, he was a good soccer player. Second, he was a real professional. He was good for our first guy we brought in for the DP spot. Originally, the big thing around the league was ... the players wanted to go to Los Angeles or New York because they were Los Angeles and New York. ... To be frank, Kansas City wasn't high on the list. Getting a player like Claudio to come and play for the Wizards was a huge coup for us. And, more importantly, he had a good time here when he did play and he realized that we were trying to do the right thing. I think that he leaves as a good representative of the KC wizards and we have a good connection with him*. ... One thing you have to ... have some respect for around the league is that our ownership group was willing to invest in a DP spot when we were moving into an interim, a temporary, stadium. It goes to prove that our ownership group is committed to putting the best product on the field as possible. ... Most teams only do it [bring in a designated player] when they get into the new stadium. *Lopez today officially signed with the Colorado Rapids. Vermes explained during this interview that the Wizards did not re-sign Lopez because was asking for more money that the Wizards could offer during this offseason. Question: And now the process would be, if you go down that path, to get a new DP as you transition into the new stadium? Vermes: We would be looking during the second transfer window this summer. [As for a player] I think ... it has to fit our needs still and the timing has to be right in regards to the salary cap and where our team is at the time. I absolutely think it would be great for us as we're transitioning into our new stadium. Question: Is the primary reason for the DP to sell tickets? Vermes: When you're going after a DP, it has to fit what you're doing [with the team]. ... If the player provides us with the added benefit of having marketability, then that's icing on the cake. We definitely have to make sure that person fits the way we want to play and the style we're trying to create here. Question: What kind of process goes into finding a designated player? Is it a little bit of luck finding out a player wants to come to the MLS or do you have a group of guys who you're specifically looking toward? Vermes: The first thing is it helps when you know you can afford to go and get a DP. Because, obviously, there's a lot more money involved. ... Number two is that we constantly scout, evaluate and look at players [and] they come in all kinds of price ranges. We have a database that categorizes players into different areas and one of them is DPs. So, we have been looking at DPs for the last couple of years. It's just a matter of finding which one fits what we want. The process is exactly that. The difficulty is, is when you... Claudio was a very difficult negotiation. There was four different layers of agents and it was going nowhere. It was almost basically off until I just picked up a phone and went through someone I know, got [Lopez's] individual cellphone and talked to him directly. Him and I basically worked out a contract over the phone. That's how that deal got done. Because it was basically going nowhere. Question: You probably can't get too specific, but is there any position you would be looking at if you were to bring in a star player for that slot? Vermes: When I first started in this position over three years ago I probably would've said an attacking player, a goal scorer, an attack-minded player. I would probably say that today my thoughts would be a little different because I think you can get some incredible value out of a player in different places on the field. [Interjection: That's a little different thinking than the rest of MLS teams who seem to go for more attack-minded players.] I'm not saying that we wouldn't, I think that we would be more open at this point to looking across the board and seeing what's important for our team going forward. Because it wouldn't be that we just go get the guy for a year and that would be it. We want to make this person a part of our team for the long term.
Read last week's installment of Five for Friday featuring Wizards TV announcer Dave Borchardt.
April 2, 2010 10:20 PM