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Looking at D.C. United’s personnel direction ahead

Nov 23, 2012, 11:25 AM EDT

Kevin Payne

One of the interesting items to come from Steven Goff’s ranging post-season Washington Post interview with D.C. United president Kevin Payne were thoughts on the club’s overarching personnel philosophies going forward.

Essentially, teams can go one of three ways when it comes to high-level signings:

There’s the Galaxy and Red Bull way, practiced to lesser extend by a couple of other clubs. That means going after pricey types whose value on the field is matched to some extent by value in sales and marketing.

There’s the “buy low, sell high” approach. Obviously, it’s tricky; so many clubs would like to perfect this practice but there are just too many moving parts.

And then there’s the most frugal model where, where it’s just about trying to build the best roster without spending much money.

Sounds like United, a club that might once have joined the name clubs in pursuit of bigger stars, will be a buy-sell club for now.

Here’ what Payne told Goff about player philosophies under new ownership:

The league is beginning to put more emphasis on younger, very talented players — potential DPs. Everyone appreciates the value of David Beckham or Robbie Keane to the commercial enterprise of the league, in particular, but we also want to explore whether there are opportunities to invest in appreciating assets — players who are going to increase in value in the time they are here.

“We have a young group and a young coaching staff. Some of these [potential big-name DPs] are very difficult to manage. They are big personalities. They become somewhat outsized in certain instances. They are accustomed to certain levels of treatment. Right now, at least, we are not sure we want to go down that road. There is nothing written in stone, but given the age of our team, the quality of our young players, and the age of our coaching staff, we think it may make more sense for us to look at players who are more peers of the players we have than are 10 years older.”

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with that. I know that some MLS fans don’t want to think of their league as a “stepping stone” association. But for now, in all honesty, that’s not a bad place for MLS to be.

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