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January 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Questions about MLS, WPS

Some reading material to open the New Year:

New year kicks off with transfer talk and draft preparation

By Beau Dure

USA Today – January 1, 2009

Landon Donovan and David Beckham are planning to spend the next couple of months in Europe. That much is known, but as transfer windows open and teams prepare for drafts, much else is not known.

– Will rising Major League Soccer players such as Kenny Cooper and Sacha Kljestan find homes in Europe during the January window, when MLS can make money from selling their contracts?

MLS made no money on one deal already announced, when the New England Revolution’s Michael Parkhurst played out his contract and moved to a club in Denmark as a free agent.

– Will U.S. players already overseas but stuck on a bench move somewhere else? DaMarcus Beasley, who has fallen out of the Rangers (Scotland) rotation, heads the list.

– Can Women’s Professional Soccer teams sign their international players? WPS has no incoming transfer window, but players will want to finalize their plans before the European window closes this month.

– Will anyone be traded around the MLS draft Jan. 15? Last year, the Los Angeles Galaxy sent Chris Albright to New England and used their first-round pick on fellow defender Sean Franklin, the MLS rookie of the year.

– With MLS supplemental draft extinct, who will make the smartest picks in an enlarged free agent pool?

Had there been no supplemental draft in past years, D.C. United defender Devon McTavish, New York Red Bulls goalie Danny Cepero and MLS rookie of the year finalist Kheli Dube (New England) would have been available to any team.

– Will Oguchi Onyewu finally leave Belgium’s Standard Liege, where he has played most of the last five years?

– Who’ll be the first pick in the WPS draft Jan. 16? Boston Breakers coach Tony DiCicco – former WUSA commissioner, TV analyst and World Cup and Olympic gold-winning coach – isn’t tipping his hand other than to set a high bar for trade talk.

“I doubt very much that I would trade that first pick unless it was an incredible trade,” he says.

Though the WPS already has held two drafts – one for international players only, one for everyone except college seniors – DiCicco doesn’t think NCAA players will be the only ones called in this month’s picks.

At least seven players in recent combines had experience in WUSA, which closed after the 2003 season.

“For Year 1, we’ll be deeper talent-wise than we were at the beginning of the WUSA, mostly because back then there were probably 30 or 40 women’s amateur teams. Now there’s probably 100,” says DiCicco, who coached the U.S. under-20 team to a world title last month.

“These leagues are pretty good. I think our options of player selections are even deeper than they were.”

Some of the top prospects in the WPS draft include Hermann Trophy finalists Christina DiMartino (UCLA) and Kerri Hanks (Notre Dame), plus Beijing Olympic gold medalist Amy Rodriguez (Southern California).


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