Leftovers from Thursday’s newsworthy conversation with D.C. United managing partner Jason Levien…..
1. He respects RFK Stadium.
“There are some advantages to RFK. One of the advantages is the history and legacy. There is a certain segment of our fan base that appreciates that. The history is something we want to embrace while we are there, but the economics over the long term don’t make sense to stay there. What we are not going to do is denigrate RFK in any way because there have been some amazing moments in people’s lives there. It’s hallowed ground, and while we are there, we want to respect it and enjoy it because at some point we are going to look back and not be there, and it’s going to remain a hallowed ground.”
2. Despite revenue limitations at RFK, the club will spend.
“Certainly the economics are not as strong at RFK as they will be in a new stadium. We were prepared for that from the beginning. We want to field a competitive team. We want try to go back to the conference finals. We want to win at RFK. Our focus the next several seasons while we are building a stadium is to win and continue the tradition. … The last thing we are trying to do here is just survive until we get out of RFK. We want to embrace RFK and we want to embrace winning. Let’s bring MLS Cup here. We were one game away from it last year. What a way to send RFK out with MLS Cup here.”
3. A new designated player this year is not out of the question.
“We will look for other DP opportunities.”
Levien referenced the summer transfer window, when the marketplace is more plentiful than during the winter. The club did take a hard look at high-priced DP candidates this offseason, he added, but didn’t find the right fit. (United did add a more economical young DP, 20-year-old Brazilian forward Rafael, and has the option to purchase him next winter.)
4. Dave Kasper is in charge of the soccer stuff.
Kasper will remain the general manager but also oversee all soccer operations. In the past, former president Kevin Payne had his hands in all elements of the club, including player personnel decisions.
“It’s an opportunity for Kasper to grow,” Levien said. “It’s a good tandem with [Coach] Ben [Olsen]. We are giving them a lot of leeway and latitude.”
Translation: No upper-management meddling.
Other translation: If it doesn’t work, Dave, it’s your fault.
5. The club’s Indonesian investor (Erick Thohir) pushed for an Indonesian midfielder (Syamsir Alam, age 20). You don’t say!
“It’s important for us, it’s important for Erick, it’s important for the team to look at out-of-the-box opportunities to add talent. Will [Chang] is involved in international business, Erick is based overseas, and we are going to look. [Scout] Kurt [Morsink] went to Europe to find players of Southeast Asian descent.”
6. TV opportunities haven’t been fully realized.
“We want to expand our presence, we want it to be more robust. We’re talking to Comcast SportsNet [United’s longtime regional partner for game coverage], but others in the media field who want to be involved as well. We want to maximize the opportunity — more content outside the games, a coach’s show, behind the scenes in the locker room and practice field. When our season is so long, it’s important to tell a story that isn’t just the 34 games.”