The 2011-2012 school year is wrapping up for millions of kids across the country. As the students run from their classroom doors holding summer reading lists that they won't even look at until early August, their teachers utter sighs of relief.
Likewise, the players on D.C. United have had a bit of a summer break as well. They're entering their third straight week without an MLS match, although many have been busy with their National Teams, playing U.S. Open Cup games, or being Kurt Morsink. Still, the players won't get away from training during this break without a summer reading list of their own in hand. Here are some books that we'd recommend for United's players to read before MLS action resumes next Saturday.
Branko Boskovic and Dave Kasper - You Can Negotiate Anything, by Herb Cohen - The biggest storyline of the next month will be Boskovic's contract situation. He is signed for only the next three matches. And while Boskovic hasn't quite lived up to his contractual salary the past two years, United fans, players, and staff alike seem to agree that this team is better with him than without him. Kasper and Boskovic will need to get down to business the next few weeks and come to terms on a new contract that is mutually acceptable. Boskovic wants to be here. United wants him here. Let's work something out.
Perry Kitchen - How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy, by Paul Chek - How important is Kitchen to United? The two worst halves that United has played all year - the second against the LA Galaxy and the first against the San Jose Earthquakes - were without Kitchen as the defensive midfielder. We've been fortunate that he hasn't missed any time due to injury so far this season. For United to keep doing well, that needs to continue. The dropoff from Kitchen to Marcelo Saragosa and Stephen King might be too great to overcome. Kitchen needs to stay healthy.
Nick DeLeon, Chris Pontius, and Maicon Santos - The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien - These three players have all exceeded expectations in the first three months of the season, but they're all coming off injuries now. Can they return to the starting lineup just as strong as they were when they left it? I'm hopeful, but with a few concerns. There were reports of Santos getting pushed off the ball a few times in Richmond, and I saw it myself against the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday. DeLeon's magical first touch that impressed us so much in his first few appearances hasn't been as evident since his return. Pontius just played his first minutes in a reserve match earlier today, but will need to come back big to reclaim a starting job.
Dwayne De Rosario - A journal - I don't have any books to recommend for DeRo. Instead, I want him to keep a journal of everything he does every day, and publish it. Wait no, don't publish it, just hand it to his other teammates. De Rosario is the second oldest player on the team, but he sure doesn't play like it. Unfortunately, some of our other aging veterans like Boskovic, Robbie Russell and Josh Wolff are starting to show their age though. If these guys would live their lives in the exact way that DeRo lives his, Ben Olsen would be able to make more tactical substitutions and fewer fatigue-related substitutions.
Emiliano Dudar - Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, by Michael Green and Joseph Sambrook - I think this one is self-explanatory. Get to work. We need more Dudars.
This list is just a start. Do you have any books in mind that United's players should be reading? Feel free to give us your recommendations in the comments below.