A Scouting Trip With Kurt Morsink

"On a scale of 1 to Beckham, what's his FORC?" We're accompanying Kurt Morsink on a scouting trip.


When D.C. United entered the month of August 2012, the team had two major roster concerns:
1. A total lack of depth at the outside back position
2. Kurt Morsink was still on the roster

And so on one fateful day last week, United orchestrated a set of moves that solved both issues. Mike Chabala was acquired from the Portland Timbers via trade, and Morsink retired his playing career to take a job as a Scouting Coordinator in the front office.

It was a brilliant move because all parties left happy. Chabala came to a team in playoff position where he'll get playing time, the Timbers got a future draft pick for their rebuilding efforts, Morsink got a job where he can travel and still make a good salary, the coaching staff got a new player to address their depth concerns, the front office got to expand their scouting efforts, and the fans could breathe a sigh of relief that Morsink would never again take the field in an MLS match wearing black and red.

Many have wondered though what the position of Scouting Coordinator entails. Is Morsink qualified for this position? The answer is YES. The following is a list of job responsibilities as found on dcunited.com on a page that I cannot link because it doesn't actually exist.

- Assist in our team mission to win championships and serve the community
- Cultivate a network of scouting resources in North and Central America
- Seek players who fit the United style of play and United tradition
- Attend numerous college matches and training sessions
- Start at central midfield in all reserve games that aren't cancelled (there will only be 3-4 per year)

We'd love to accompany Morsink on one of his upcoming scouting ventures. We think it would be both educational and entertaining. If you continue below, you'll read an account of what a scouting trip with Kurt Morsink might look like.

"On a scale of 1 to David Beckham, how's his FORC?" Morsink asked the coach of South Harmon Institute of Technology.

The coach looked confused. Always looking to build up his players in the eyes of professional scouts, the coach took a stab at the answer that Morsink was seeking. "He's almost reached Beckham's level of FORC, in my opinion. Very promising," the coach guessed.

"Good, good," replied the former United midfielder. Morsink was on a journey to find players who might fit in with the current D.C. United squad in MLS, and it wasn't going well. Morsink was searching for a certain type of player, and that player was a rarity in the college ranks. Some of these kids had strong soccer skills, but they didn't seem to possess many of the other attributes necessary to be successful at the next level. Morsink nodded appreciatively as a trio of players ran by him quickly. "Get angry!" he barked. "Get even!"

"Do you know what it takes to make it in MLS?" Morsink asked the players once the training session had concluded. "Soccer isn't all about scoring goals. It isn't all about defending them either. What's your VORC? How many BPTO's do you average per game? These are the things we're looking for now."

The players were equally impressed and nervous. Morsink was spouting terms with which they weren't familiar. Clearly they had much to learn. And they were eager to learn it. It was great to have a professional scout here standing before them. It was even greater when you consider that he had a history in MLS too. One of the players was brave enough to ask, "Mr. Morsink, can you explain what VORC is?"

"Only the most important thing ever," Morsink muttered. "I led the league in VORC in 2010! Did you know that?!" Obviously this was going to be harder than Morsink had expected. "I guess I'm going to have to start from scratch." The players looked disappointed to have let him down, but also excited that they were about to receive a lesson from a true professional, although a professional who didn't exactly have the most heralded career.

And so Morsink proceeded to explain the elements that he perceived as rudimentary. The things that he learned as a child, kicking the ball around the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica. The skills that he had carefully honed over the years while working with Curt Onalfo.

Morsink listed the statistics that he would be comparing the players on, with an explanation of each.

FCOB - Fouls committed outside the box. We all know that you don't want to concede any penalty kicks. But as long as you're outside the box, don't be afraid to knock some dudes over.
FORC - Frequency of referee complaints. You always want to maximize the number of interactions you have with the officials. I only played 157 minutes for D.C. in 2011, but my FORC was still in the top three in MLS. If the referee is doing a shitty job, tell him he's doing a shitty job. If he's doing a pretty good job, tell him he's doing a shitty job.
VORC - Volume of referee complains. And tell him loudly too.
BPTO - Back passes to opposition. This one is self-explanatory. It's a way to motivate your defenders, really keep them on their toes.
AU/I - Attacks uninvolved. When your team has the ball and is attacking the goal, it's important to hang back. You don't want or need to get involved. This would be a good time to heckle the referee. Get your FORC numbers up at the same time. If the referee is too far away, heckle a teammate instead.

With that, the players politely thanked Morsink, and quickly shuffled away. When Morsink retired from being a professional soccer player, he was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on the other side of the sidelines - to help build a squad that could compete the only way he knew how. He had no idea it was going to be this difficult.

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