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April 8, 2011 at 12:40 AM

Adding more context to some answers from Adrian Hanauer

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgOne of the perils of print journalism sometimes is the limit of space. As such, some of the answers Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer gave to me in this Q&A that ran in Friday’s paper had to be chopped a bit.

I wanted to provide his complete answers to a couple questions here on the blog to provide better context and allow readers/fans to more fully understand the points he was trying to make. I think you might find useful his candid insights into hunting for DPs and international players.

Also after the jump is his full response to approaching evaluations of head coaches…

* * *

Q: Still, how disappointing is it that some of those higher-profile moves haven’t worked out how you would have hoped?

Hanauer: “It doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m as affected by a minimum-salary player that we bring on and doesn’t have impact as a more expensive player. The reality is if you move a more expensive player out, you open up a lot of cap space, and it’s an opportunity. What I always want to make sure we do as a franchise, and I feel this way about business in general, is if we’ve identified a player or person in our business who isn’t a good fit, who isn’t contributing, who we’ve given every opportunity to and have communicated well with, we’ve worked with, and they’re not going to help us as a team/organization, then I want to be an organization that moves that player/person out and tries to find someone who is going to provide for the team. If you look around the world of sports and business hiring, you’re just never going to get it right (all the time). I think 60-70 percent is probably fantastic, 50 percent is probably about average and if you’re 30-40 percent then you absolutely need to improve. I guarantee we’re not going to get it right all the time. I just know it. In our league we have some real restrictions and rules that make it even harder.

“For instance having a transfer fee of a player hit our salary cap. What that means is in a lot of cases our league is playing at a disadvantage. If you go into Central America and try to find a good, young player who’s 22-24 years old, they’re just not walking free from clubs. The good ones are locked up, which means that generally we’re not able to secure their services. So we’re fishing from a smaller pool because not only do we have to identify the good player, now we have to find one that no one else in Central America knows is good. In a lot of cases that’s where we have a hard time.

“And even with the designated players. The designated players that come to our league are free. In general, people are not paying transfer fees. Well, generally that means there’s a reason they’re free in many cases. Some cases it’s just that they’ve decided to play out their contract, but their clubs have allowed them to play out their contracts also. I’m not trying to disparage the DPs in our league and some of them have been very successful, but it’s hard. Quite frankly, I think we got lucky on Freddie Ljungberg. And I think Freddie did very well for us. He was one of those rare cases of a player, 31 years old, amazing CV, who was free, but it was because he had some issues at West Ham and had some injury issues. We got lucky in that way. Beckham was one of those players who was so able to control his future because of his status. He went ahead and played until six month prior to his contract expiring and was able to sign on a free.

“So anyway, I’m always disappointed if we don’t win every single game by three goals. But I’m also realistic enough to know that in a league that pride itself on parity and has rules that promote parity and has other limitations, that that’s not going to be realistic. What I need to do, although it’s hard for me to do as well, is step back and say, ‘What’s the complete body of work?’, which to me is a season, and not focus on a two-game losing streak.”

Q: How do you approach evaluating coaching in the team’s results?

Hanauer: “I may be different in this regard than other general managers, I don’t know. I’m a big believer in finding good people and providing them the resources and the tools and the goals and the motivation to be successful. If you find a good person, maybe this goes back to my business focus, you evaluate on the body of work. All that to say is I’m not someone that has an itchy trigger (finger), first of all. Second of all — clearly we’re talking about Sigi (Schmid) here — we picked Sigi because we thought he was the best coach in Major League Soccer. In my mind he didn’t un-become the best coach in Major League Soccer over the course of the last two years. For me to be interested in making changes in the head-coaching position has to be a major transformation of some sort. Brian Schmetzer was my coach with the USL team for seven years. We had a couple of bad years in those seven years, but he didn’t un-become a good head coach. We had a rough patch, players didn’t quite come together and the following year we figured it out. I’m hopeful that that’s the pattern we’ll establish. You can do it either way, but I much prefer to be an Arsenal, Manchester United and have a manager in place for a number of years than have a revolving door.”


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