Clyde Simms is no longer with D.C. United, but the ties to Washington and the MLS club that employed him for seven years remain strong.
The New England Revolution midfielder shares an apartment with another ex-United player, Blake Brettschneider. Until recently, D.C. defender Brandon McDonald was renting the basement of the Capitol Hill townhouse that Simms and his girlfriend still own.
With the Revolution off last weekend, Simms attended United’s match against the Seattle Sounders at RFK Stadium and, the following day, lunched with McDonald and Chris Pontius.
And this Saturday, Simms will confront his former team for the first time in an afternoon match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” he said by phone Tuesday. “It’s going to be a little strange, but there’s been so much turnover in D.C., I haven’t played with a lot of their guys.”
Simms, 29, boasted United’s longest continuous service when the club decided to cut ties after the 2011 season and turn the defensive midfield duties to second-year Perry Kitchen. New England selected Simms in the re-entry draft and signed him during the winter.
He has started every match for the Revolution (2-3-0, six points), and with midfield partner Shalrie Joseph suspended for a reckless challenge last week, Simms will inherit a larger responsibility against United (1-2-2, five).
Simms and Joseph, one of MLS’s finest midfielders for years, have played side by side, allowing each to get forward while knowing the other is providing cover.
After serving under 34-year-old Ben Olsen in Washington, Simms is now playing for Jay Heaps, age 35.
The transition between United and the Revolution has gone well, he said. “It took some time in preseason because I had been with D.C. so long, but I am enjoying it and the team is starting to come together.”
One big change: His commute. In Washington, Simms lived in the Hill East neighborhood and often biked a few blocks to RFK. With the Revolution, the car dealerships and cheap motels on Route 1 in Foxborough didn’t offer the same charms as the nation’s capital, so he is living about 12 miles away.
For work purposes, his girlfriend, Katri, continues to live at their townhouse in Washington. She visits Simms when the Revolution is playing at home.
Simms doesn’t hold any lingering resentment toward United, which also released veterans Marc Burch and Santino Quaranta during the offseason.
“At first, there was” some anger, he said. “But then you think about all the guys moving around the league and you realize it’s pro sports and part of the business. A lot of guys struggle with it because they don’t think they’re valued. One team might not value you, but another will. So for me, there are no hard feelings.”
Burch still seemed to carry a grudge when he made pointed comments last week before facing United as a Seattle player. (Burch entered late in the match and sent a header off the crossbar of the 0-0 draw.)
Simms, Burch’s roommate for United away matches, got a chuckle from the left back’s pregame comments.
While attending the United-Sounders match, Simms “wanted to cheer for Marc because he’s been a friend, but I didn’t want to see United lose at RFK in front of their fans either.”
But, he added with a laugh, “I also know United is in [New England’s] conference — they’re the enemy now — so a draw worked out for everyone.”