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MLS CUP NOTEBOOK

Foreign Player Proposal Is on the Table for '08

The Houston Dynamo celebrates its second straight MLS Cup, a 2-1 win over New England. According to a proposed rule change, MLS clubs could have up to seven foreign players on their rosters next season, regardless of age.
The Houston Dynamo celebrates its second straight MLS Cup, a 2-1 win over New England. According to a proposed rule change, MLS clubs could have up to seven foreign players on their rosters next season, regardless of age. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)

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By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 19, 2007

MLS has proposed a rule change that would allow teams to sign additional experienced, foreign players, sources close to the league said yesterday.

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Teams are currently permitted to sign up to four senior international players (age 25 or older) and three youth international players (24 or younger). Under the proposal, which was discussed during league meetings this weekend, clubs would be able to have seven foreign players without any age restrictions.

The plan is subject to approval by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which certifies MLS as the country's first-division league.

Even if the rule is approved, teams would still be under regular budget guidelines and limited in the number of high-priced players they could afford. It would, however, help teams that have foreign players with moderate salaries who are about to turn 25, such as D.C. United's Guy-Roland Kpene.

Site Search Continues

United President Kevin Payne said the club continues to keep its options open in search of a site for a new stadium.

"Time is a very important consideration for us, and as such, it's going to be a big role in our decision," he said. "Whoever can come up with the right location, the right economic deal and the appropriate political will to make it happen, that's where we are going to go."

At least five banners were on display during MLS Cup at RFK Stadium expressing support for the club's proposal to build a stadium in the District. . . .

United is likely to use the designated player rule, which allows teams to sign marquee players outside salary cap guidelines, Payne said. The club has reportedly been negotiating with Argentine midfielder Juan Sebasti¿n Ver¿n.

"Without naming names, we're certainly optimistic we will have a designated player next season," he said. . . .

New England's Taylor Twellman became the second player in MLS Cup history to score in consecutive finals. The first was United's Tony Sanneh in 1996-97. . . .

The first team to score in the last seven MLS Cups has won only three times. Over the history of the league (regular season and postseason), 75 percent of teams that score first win. . . .

New York was denied permission by Chicago to interview Fire Coach Juan Carlos Osorio for the Red Bulls' vacancy, a source familiar with the situation said. The source said the Red Bulls are also interested in Chivas USA Coach Preki as well as former United coach Peter Nowak, currently a U.S. national team assistant and 2008 Olympic coach. . . .

Robert Kraft, who owns the New England Patriots and operates the Revolution, attended the MLS match with family members, then boarded his private jet to fly to Buffalo for the NFL game against the Bills last night. . . .

Pl¿cido Domingo, one of opera's famed "Three Tenors" and general director of the Washington Opera, sang the national anthem.


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