Ten years ago, D.C. United mixed a rookie coach with a U.S. national team veteran, future Premier League mainstay, a teenage prodigy, soon-to-be MLS scoring king and an MVP in waiting. By the end of the 2004 campaign, United was league champs for the fourth time. The black and red has not been back to MLS Cup since — and has qualified for the playoffs only four times.
Six of the 24 players on the roster at the end of that year remain active. Thirteen have entered coaching or management. One is becoming a doctor. Another is a Wall Street executive. One became a civil engineer. A Brazilian settled in Norway. A Caribbean native landed at Puget Sound. A player and a coach filed lawsuits against MLS teams. Three retired with concussions. One entered drug rehab. Another was suspended for match-fixing. One captained a World Cup squad. Another is going to the Cup for the first time this summer.
On the 10th anniversary of United’s championship season, the Insider looks at where the players and coaches are today:
(MLS Cup vs. Kansas City)
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando: Hampered by injuries, lost starting job to Troy Perkins in 2006. Traded with Freddy Adu to Real Salt Lake for Jay Nolly, player allocation and other considerations. Started almost every match for RSL over seven years and slated to join U.S. squad in Brazil as No. 3 World Cup goalkeeper. Ranks second in MLS GK history in matches played, starts, victories, shutouts.
Defender Bryan Namoff: A regular through 2009 when head injuries ended season. After attempting comeback, stepped away from soccer at No. 3 in club history in games played. Appointed to DCU front office but continued to struggle with concussion symptoms. In 2012, sued United for medical malpractice. Jury trial scheduled to begin next February.
Defender Ryan Nelsen: Free from contract after 2004 season. Served seven years with Blackburn Rovers in Premier League. Captained New Zealand at 2010 World Cup. Finished career with Tottenham and QPR before accepting Toronto FC’s head coaching post last year.
Defender Mike Petke: Departed early in 2005 season as part of three-team trade. Played four years for Colorado Rapids and three in second stint with New York. Worked in Red Bulls front office before becoming assistant coach, interim head coach and then full-time head coach. In first full season last year, guided club to Supporters’ Shield.
Midfielder Earnie Stewart: U.S. World Cup veteran returned home to Netherlands after second and final DCU season in 2004. Finished career with Venlo, his first club, before becoming technical director. Moved to NAC Breda and then AZ Alkmaar, where he has served as director of football for almost four years and overseen U.S. national team players Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson.
Midfielder Brian Carroll: Lineup regular through 2007 but exposed to expansion draft and selected by San Jose Earthquakes, which promptly traded him to Columbus Crew. Joined Philadelphia Union in 2011. On pace this year to move into fifth place in MLS history in regular season starts.
Midfielder Christian Gomez: Energized championship run with late-season arrival, then starred in Washington for three more seasons. MLS 2006 MVP. Contract impasse a year later resulted in United signing Marcelo Gallardo and trading Gomez to Colorado for first-round pick and other considerations. Returned to United in 2009, spent a year with second-division Miami then rejoined Argentina’s Nuevo Chicago, his first club. At age 39, he remains active with third-division side.
Midfielder Ben Olsen: Battled injuries for five more seasons before retiring at No. 3 on club’s career charts in games played, starts and assists. In 2010, joined Curt Onalfo’s coaching staff. When Onalfo was fired midway though season, Olsen was appointed interim coach. Despite initial reservations, United officials handed him permanent job. Club narrowly missed playoffs in 2011 and finished with third-most points in 2012 but posted fewest victories in league history (three) last season. In final year of contract.
Midfielder Dema Kovalenko: Played one more season with United before returning to native Ukraine. Rejoined MLS late in 2006 and served with New York through 2007. Spent one year with Real Salt Lake and two with Los Angeles Galaxy before retiring. Lives in Southern California and coaches youth soccer.
Forward Jaime Moreno: Closed storied career in 2010. Averaged 11 goals and 8 assists between 2005 and ’08. In 2009, became first MLS player to record 100 goals and 100 assists. On current MLS lists, he’s third in goals (133), fifth in assists (102), sixth in games played (340), 10th in starts (295). Coached DCU’s U-23 squad for two years before stepping down last year to pursue other opportunities.
Forward Alecko Eskandarian: 2004 MLS Cup MVP spent two more seasons in Washington before being dealt to Toronto. Later played for Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA and Los Angeles. Head injuries ended his career. Returned to University of Virginia to finish degree and serve as assistant coach. Philadelphia’s youth technical director in 2011-12 and now assistant coach with second-division New York Cosmos.
Midfielder Josh Gros: Starter in 2005 through ’07, but like Namoff and Eskandarian, head injuries forced him to retire. Became civil engineer at Northern Virginia firm before returning to MLS circles in 2010 as Philadelphia’s team coordinator.
Forward Freddy Adu: Since bursting onto scene at age 14 in 2004, Adu has bounced around the world in search of a long-term assignment. Has played for nine clubs and currently a free agent. Bahia in Brazil did not renew his contract in December. Unsuccessful trial with Blackpool in England last month. Currently training in Europe.
Defender Brandon Prideaux: Two more years with United, then one at Colorado and two with Chicago Fire. Assistant coach at alma mater University of Washington for two years, now working for Kforce Technology in Denver. Coaching son’s under-5 team.
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins: DCU to Valerenga in Norway (with transfer fee), back to DCU (via allocation in trade with Philadelphia that relinquished Fred and 1st-round pick, which became Jack McInerney), off to Portland (for Steve Cronin and allocation money) and now Montreal. 193 starts in his 11th MLS season.
Midfielder Santino Quaranta: Missed almost entire 2004 season with injuries. Dealt to Galaxy in 2006, then Red Bulls in ’07. Battled drug addition before returning to DCU in 2008: 10 goals and 16 assists over subsequent four years. Retired after 2011 season. Signed to play in India’s new league, but concept collapsed. Co-founded Pipeline Soccer Club in Baltimore. This year, he becomes coach of PDL’s Baltimore Bohemians and DCU color commentator for Comcast SportsNet.
Defender Ezra Hendrickson: Claimed by Chivas USA in 2004 expansion draft. Moved to Columbus in 2006 and won MLS Cup two years later — his third league title. Seattle Sounders assistant coach since 2009. 266 MLS matches, 123 caps for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Defender David Stokes: Released after 2006 season. Played for second-tier Carolina RailHawks for two years. Coached Prince William and Great Falls soccer clubs in Northern Virginia in 2009-10. Head coach of Patriot High School boys’ program in Nokesville, Va., since 2011. Season begins next week.
Midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla: Missed 2004 season with injuries. Over next nine seasons, played for clubs in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Mexico and Guatemala. Implicated in El Salvador’s match-fixing scandal last year, suspended 6 months. Returned this month to play for Aguila.
Midfielder Kevin Ara: Harvard economics grad claimed by Real Salt Lake in 2004 expansion draft. Moved to financial world in 2006. Currently vice president at Deutsche Bank in equities trading division in New York. Enrolled in Columbia Business School (MBA). Plays soccer in free time.
Forward Jason Thompson: Waived after 2005 season. Enrolled at UT Dallas to finish bachelor’s degree. Earned living as construction worker, hotel bellman, nurse’s technician. Completing medical school at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. In July, begins five-year residency as orthopedic surgeon. Wife and two kids, one of whom stars in medical class video.
Forward Thiago Martins: ACL injuries in 2003 and ’04. Chosen by Chivas USA in ’04 expansion draft. Later played for New York and Colorado. Moved to Norway and scored 17 goals to help Bodo/Glimt gain promotion. Retired after 2010 season. Settled in Norway, where he is a teacher, personal trainer, motivational speaker for businesses and coach of junior team for fourth-division IK Grand Bodo.
Forward Tim Lawson: Waived in 2005 preseason, left soccer in 2006. Currently a systems engineer at medical clinic in Seattle.
Midfielder Nana Kuffour: Raw talent scored stunning goal in a 2005 reserve game, released at end of season. Played for Liberty Professionals and Hearts of Oak in native Ghana until 2010. According to Ghanaian website, converted to Islam and changed name to Mohammed Tuah Khamis. Current whereabouts unknown.
Players who did not finish the year with United
Midfielder Bobby Convey: Transferred to Reading FC in second-tier England in July 2004. Now with New York Red Bulls.
Forward Ronald Cerritos: Released in June ’04. Operates youth academy in College Park, Md., and works for United academy.
Goalkeeper Doug Warren: Released in June ’04. Manager at medical device company in Boston.
Goalkeeper Andrew Terris: Called up twice from MLS goalkeepers pool in August ’04. Harvard Business School graduate now a VP for investment firm.
Midfielder G.R. Cannon: Called up from PDL’s Northern Virginia Royals for one game in July ’04. Operates youth academy in Easton, Md.
Peter Nowak: Two more years with United, including 2006 Supporters’ Shield. Resigned to become 2008 U.S. Olympic coach and national team assistant under Bob Bradley. Named Philadelphia’s first coach in 2010. Fired midway through 2012 season. Filed wrongful termination lawsuit against Union. Currently technical adviser for Kirkwood Soccer Club in Delaware.
Tom Soehn: United assistant for two more years, promoted to head coach. Three seasons at helm. Supporters’ Shield in 2007 and U.S. Open Cup in ’08. Director of soccer operations and briefly interim coach of Vancouver Whitecaps. Now a New England Revolution assistant coach.
Mark Simpson: United assistant through 2010. Became a mortgage loan officer. Director of soccer operations for Virginia Cavalry, an NASL expansion club. Launch delayed until 2015.