It looks like the Dispatch is starting to ramp up its coverage now that preseason is underway. There’s been stories each of the last three days; some fluff/personality pieces (Andy Herron’s life was changed by an earthquake when he was 13), a match report on the Fitz Memorial (the Crew won 2-1, goals by Oughton and one of the draft picks – Hamilton, I think?), etc.
One of the pieces is effectively a pre-emptive strike against people complaining that the Crew hasn’t signed a Beckham-scale player. Ngwenya is the player interview du jour for that piece, talking about how its better to have a young and hungry player who wants to prove himself than somebody just coming over to “see what life in the USA is like.”
Now, I can’t argue with that viewpoint for most cases. There have certianly been plenty of high-profile players who have come to MLS and flopped: Lothar Matthaus, Branco, Donadoni, Luis Hernandez, Sebastian Rozental… And league apologists never tire of pointing to players like Carlos Ruiz, Stern John, and Taylor Twellman as the epitome of the “young and hungry” paradigm.
There is something that bothered me about this though. Its not enough to be “hungry” – and a look at the all-time player register shows plenty of people who were “hungry” but couldn’t perform. David Testo, Devin Barclay, Leighton O’Brien, Henrik Nebrilius, Paul Young, Ricci Greenwood, etc.
There’s also part of me that’s somewhat bemused by the fact that, while many teams have been using the Beckham Rule to go after players like Beckham himself, or Edgar Davids (Dallas), or Zinedine Zidane (New York and Chicago), the Crew’s focus has been the far-more pragmatic Brian McBride. Don’t get me wrong, I love McBride as much as the next Crew fan – but if we’re going to take advantage of the Beckham rule I’d kind of like to swing for the fences. Cisse, anyone? 🙂