D.C. United released its list today of nine players from the 2011 roster who will be exposed for the MLS Re-Entry Draft next week.
While the list doesn't necessariliy include any shockers, it could signal the end of the United careers of some long-standing veterans.
After protecting him from the expansion draft, Clyde Simms heads the list of players who will not have their contract options picked up for the 2012 season, and therefore become eligible for the first round of the Re-Entry Draft, in which players can be signed by other clubs at a roughly 5% raise over their 2011 salaries. Simms has been a starter for United since 2007, but looked likely to serve a reserve role in the upcoming season due to Perry Kitchen moving up to defensive midfield.
Another fan-favorite included on the list of available players is Santino Quaranta, a player who had the best season of his career in 2008 in his second run with United, but has declined each year since. Quaranta is only 27, but played a leadership role for D.C.'s young midfield, and often provided a spark off the bench late this season.
Some other players who have been around RFK Stadium almost since it opened have also seen United pass on their options for 2012. Devon McTavish has been with United since the 2006 season, and Marc Burch since 2007. Brandon Barklage, Steve Cronin, Kurt Morsink, Joseph Ngwenya, and Jed Zayner round out the list.
This raised a question for me... Who are the most tenured players on the United roster? Read on for the answer.
1. Simms, 2/25/05
2. McTavish, 1/25/06
3. Burch, 4/4/07
4. Quaranta, 3/6/08
t5. Barklage, 1/15/09
t5. Chris Pontius, 1/15/09
Wow. So the four players who have been members of this team the longest will probably not be members of the team at the start of training camp. Since CP13 was technically drafted a few hours ahead of Barklage in 2009, will he be next?
This offseason will mark a major shift in culture in the United locker room. Ben Olsen went into the 2011 season without making a tremendous number of roster moves. If you were on the 2010 roster and you weren't an underperforming international player, you were probably going to make the team in 2011. It doesn't look like that will be true this time around.
This offseason will also signal a total changing of the guard. Almost every player that was acquired during the Tom Soehn years will be gone. Almost every player who played with Olsen will be gone. Hopefully the losing culture will be gone too.
In the next 20 hours or so, United will learn the names of what players from around the league they might be able to replace these nine guys with. Robbie Russell was just the beginning. The offseason is underway, and United will be announcing more acquisitions before you know it. The journey to MLS Cup 2012 has now begun.