It got buried somewhat in the lead-up to and aftermath of the U.S. Open Cup final - and deservedly so - but word dropped on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, well before the trophy game kicked off, that D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper will probably be sticking around for the foreseeable future. The tweets, from Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus and MLSSoccer.com's Charles Boehm, pretty well say all the details we know (well, "know") at this point:
I'm hearing its a 3-year deal. RT @BrianStraus: Random, totally unconfirmed rumblings: DCU GM Dave Kasper to sign multiyear extension...— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) October 1, 2013
Straus's initial tweet also included the rumor - since confirmed - that the new Indianapolis Eleven NASL team's first player would be goalkeeper Kristian Nicht, and two reporters as well-sourced and established as Straus & Boehm hearing the same thing definitely counts as smoke worth looking at more closely.
So, Dave Kasper looks very likely to be sticking around RFK Stadium through the 2016 season - though if all goes well on the construction front, that last year will be spent at Buzzard Point instead of East Capitol Street. The news will surely come as a surprise to those who consider Kasper, specifically the roster construction (or lack thereof) that has taken place on his watch, to be the primary culprit for the team's 3-21-6 record. He is, after all, the guy whose biggest move since being given the reins upon Kevin Payne's departure is signing of the since departed Rafael Teixeira de Souza to a young DP deal and calling the search for a star forward finished.
But Kasper is also responsible for the mid-season moves that helped bolster the young American core of the team, trading for Luis Silva, signing Jared Jeffrey and bringing in Conor Doyle on loan (with a reported option to buy). Based on the video and podcast interviews given by Kasper and Ben Olsen in the last week or so, my speculation is that the two of them managed to sell the ownership - most likely Managing Partner Jason Levien in particular - on a plan for the future, and their jobs for next year were safe no matter what happened on the field in Sandy, Utah on Tuesday night. I think Kasper's re-signing very much points to Ben Olsen's also being retained for next season, as well.
The bad news, if this turns out to be true and if you wanted the team to part ways with Kasper and/or Olsen, is that the masterminds of the 2013 season will be in place now and into next year instead of, say, Garth Lagerway. The good news for United fans, though: they won't be making desperate, short-term moves in an attempt to save their jobs by forcing a short-term strategy that mortgages the future to be a little bit better now. Whether they're capable of establishing a successful long-term strategy is an open question, but it's one we'll apparently get to see play out to an answer.
Personally, I would have preferred to see United either go with somebody else at GM or hire a Director of Soccer (or equivalent position) to which the GM and all scouts would report; it would be that person's task to determine Kasper and Olsen's fate. But if they are going with Kasper, three years sounds right, if only for the aforementioned desire to avoid prioritizing short-term moves at the expense of the long-term success of the club. All that said, as a D.C. United supporter, I'll obviously be rooting very hard for Kasper to succeed at a level he hasn't yet.
Let us know what you think of the news in the comments.