Today after wrapping up the MLS Combine and before Thursday's MLS "Superdraft" RSL GM Garth Lagerwey took some time out to answer questions for the media. A couple things came out of the call that were not surprises but good to have confirmed.
First up, Will Johnson has a new 4 year deal. This is great news for RSL fans, Will is one of the hardest working players in MLS and also one of the nicest. I bumped into him at Best Buy just before the Holidays and he confirmed that they had been working on a new deal.
Second, RSL is working on new deals for both Nat Borchers and Nick Rimando, Nat's current contract expires at the end of 2011, and Nick's at the end of 2012, but RSL wants to get them new deals to keep them here and to show them how much their efforts over the last few seasons is appreciated. Nothing says thanks like a pay raise.
Third, The draft is really about 5 players deep, that is guys who can likely step up in year one and make an impact on teams that have those higher draft picks (or teams that struggled in 2010), but Garth believes quality role players should be available into the middle of the second round. He also confirmed the RSL philosophy that they don't have expectations of their new players to make a 1st team impact in their first year, which can help ease the pressures of adjusting to the pro game.
more after the jump,
So I have said in the past that I am not a huge fan of the MLS Draft and would much rather see players work their ways through the system of Academies but we know that a number of players each year would fall through the cracks in such a system. I asked Garth what his thoughts were on a couple of RSL academy players choosing to head off to college vs. playing their way into the pro ranks. He said that while RSL hasn't signed anyone to a Homegrown Player contract yet, that they have made offers and while some players aren't ready to make that move yet that RSL retains their rights. This means the kids who head off to college will still have their rights held by RSL, so those players are expected to hit our talent pipeline at some point in the future. The expectation is that 1-2 players each year will move into the RSL roster from that academy system and that pipeline will continue to add talent to the team.
RSL has had conversations with several people about taking over for Vanney in Arizona, and an announcement should be coming within the next 7-14 days. The search for a replacement for Robin will take longer and while the hope is to find someone before preseason camps start, this is a decision they want to make right and not quickly.
The #14 pick is available for trade if a team is really interested, RSL would look to most likely get monetary compensation for the pick as they have so little room under the cap. I have to believe that future draft picks may also be something that RSL would consider taking if there isn't anyone they want available at the spot. A commitment to taking the best available player and not taking a GA player just for the sake of avoiding the cap hit was also mentioned.
OK, that is enough for right now.
OFF MY SOAPBOX