Domi. Dabo. DPs. And a Missed Opportunity.

While the New England Revolution fans have been waiting for news of a big dollar, big name Designated Player (DP), the team has instead added a couple experienced, if not front of mind, French internationals: Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi.

The first question across many Revolution fans’ minds: Who?

Tip of the tongue names or not, there is little doubt that the team is improved by addition of these players, each of which has an impressive resume that includes top European leagues and clubs.  While we don’t know how much of a hit either of them is to the team’s salary cap, this is clearly the beginning of a number of moves that will leverage the cap room opened up with Taylor Twellman’s unfortunate early retirement and the jettisoning of pricey Edgaras Jankauskus. 

With news of other signings to come soon, one can also surmise we are also seeing use of some salary-dropping Allocation money, since the Revolution likely had access to more of that this year having missed the 2010 playoffs.

Given the spending, there is a segment of fans that will undoubtedly bemoan the lack of a “big name” signing thus far as a continuation of disinterest from the front office because that is what those fans are now programmed to say.  But the reality is that calendars and financing are working against any Designated Player signings by the Revolution until at least mid-year, when there will be European players out of contract and their addition would only cost the team half a year’s salary against the cap space.

It is OK to ask some hard questions about on-field and off field impact of these new signings.   Including things like, how will the newly acquired 30+ year old legs hold up on the Gillette turf and cross country flights?   Or, after four years of Greek soccer (good, not great), what is Domi’s current level?   And, are the Revolution going after the large (ahem) French fan base in greater Foxboro?

It is pretty unreasonable though, to think that these players have nothing to offer since they are not DPs.   There are more leaders in MLS that are not DPs than those that are – and outside of Beckham – they weren’t household names.  Even Juan Pablo Angel, perhaps the poster-child of a successful DP in terms of consistent production, was only known by the core soccer fans that follow MLS.

So while we don’t know what the Revolution’s new French contingent will bring, their addition would appear to be a step in the right direction in terms of quality and experience.   And while (nearly) nobody in New England knew who these guys were a few weeks ago, that has absolutely no bearing on their usefulness to the team.

That’s why I am puzzeled by the lack of any “unveiling” of the players that amounts to more than just a press release and web posting. 

Dear Revolution… where are the cheesy, but common, pictures with the Revolution brass?  (You know, the kind with big grins from the player and team officials as they hold a Revolution jersey with the newly added player’s name emblazoned across it.)

I’m giving the team the benefit of the doubt that logistics prevented such an unveiling of Dabo and Domi as important new signings, but if was anything else, it was a missed opportunity.  At least get out that picture with the big (if practiced) grins – even if it happened behind closed doors.  

If we get scarved, hand-shaking, smiling pictures with rookies from Superdraft (whose importance will nearly certainly dwindle over time) we should get it for experienced internationals.  If you want fans to think these players are difference makers and we want other players who are watching across the globe to be interested in coming over, we should treat them as difference makers from day one.

The fan base is yearning for optimism, and these signings have provided some. 

As long as you don’t claim that you’ve signed Thierry Henry, feel free to throw some gas on the fire and let’s see some fanfare.

Initial opportunity lost, but there is a whole season to make up for it.

C’est la vie…


5 thoughts on “Domi. Dabo. DPs. And a Missed Opportunity.

  1. are you really serious: two players that both have Not EVEN BEEN ATTACHED TO A PROFESSION CLUB IN HALF A SEASON. At least the revs brass realize that drawing attention to these signings (while almost ever club in mls has brought a significant addition and most cases numerous one) would only accentuate how half ass Kraft cares about his club. These are the type of players that usually have to train with a club inorder to get signed, hmmm, I really dont think they paid more than 200thousand. It all starts with unwillingness to start promotion of his club and to be honest does not necessarily mean signing a big player.

    here’s my guess asshole kraft is selling the team to investors to another markets at 20 t0 30 million. common do really think cheap $#%#^@ kraft would pass on that, doubt. he has undoubtable destroyed the strongest soccer market in us. bigger than anything northwest, st louis, or newyork. UCONN soccer averages more fans than the revs did last year look it up. in the first year, when the mls was a wtf to really soccer fans, the revs averaged over 20,000. next year sold out mls cup with 67000 fans. I know more ex revs fans (one of the I will never go to one of thier games ever again because blah, blah, ) than still support the team. I met two people in Worcester bar last week saw revs rain jacket told me yeah we used to go foxborough first two years but this and that and i couldnt believed they did this so #$%^ them. usually same bunch of grievance’s there is def something blah blah.

    #%$^ krat let him sell the team. he dosnt care why should we. support the local team instead of being euro snub- not when u have kraft *&&%$. DONT SUPPORT THE REVS ANYMORE. let them open this year with less than 5thousand @#$^ u kraT

    • Jonf… I approved your comment, but edited out (only) some the vulgarity… which was over the top.

      In the posting I called out that there would be fans that fully agreed with you. Also, i’m not saying these guys are bonafied All Stars in MLS… but… whether they were training and out of contract or not, these are not light resumes. Dabo’s last club is a Serie A club and apparently had enough love there to have some fan have made a youtube tribute for goodness sake. Does that mean anything specifically toward what he’ll do in MLS? No. But it’s more how many other teams have brought in players in this offseason with better credentials? Not many., its been a slow one in my view. Domi may be a European journeyman, and I called out concerns that a few years in Greece doesn’t convince as to what level he’s at, but he’s seen some real action and at 32 should have some gas left.

      Look, I’ve questioned team management (and ownership) myself… heck, I didn’t even give them a free pass on these announcements. But to say they are killing the soccer market without offering concrete ideas about exactly how or what would be done differently is unproductive (at best.) I try to add ideas – maybe only half successfully – here. At some point this becomes self defeating… complaining and not supporting a team because it is not well supported.

      Could/should things be done differently, sure… Was this team a few goals away from multiple MLS Cups? Yeah. Let’s have at least some perspective.

  2. Excellent article. I think it is a missed opportunity throughout the league as I can’t remember any player (non-DP) that gets a press conference type of announcement.

    I can’t imagine it would take much resources to do so. Just use the backdrop they use for press conferences, cover a regular table with a white tablecloth, perhaps put some sponsored product on the table and take some pictures. The Revs, and MLS in general, should not be afraid to schedule press conferences where only a few reporters and bloggers show up. What it’ll do is fire up the fan base, get them excited, which will pass on to casual fans.

    As for Jonf, your response lost all credibility when you claim that Kraft doesn’t care. That is the go to line for pessimistic Revs fans for the Revs recent struggles. If he didn’t care, why would he be spend a million dollars on a study about a certain parcel of land to see if it would be viable for a Revs stadium? Do you think he doesn’t care because he doesn’t spend the same amount on the Revs as he does for the Pats? Have you ever ran a business because you would know the return on the Revs is substantially a lot less the the Pats. I’m ok with you not being there to support the Revs, your vulgarity and ignorance would only turn off casual fans.

    • Steven, thanks for the comment. I did see a nice introduction in Portland for Kenny Cooper… but you are right, typically it seems to be reserved for DPs. It is a minor thing, but if it get s a local news blurb (or two) and shows other internationals (who might not be sold on the leage or “sunny’ Boston) that we are serious, why not.

  3. The Revs seemingly have no ability or interest in making any kind of attempt to get the local news media to pay attention to them. You are correct in that press conferences are usually reserved for DPs but besides the Twellman retirement when was the last time the Revs had a press conference? The team exists off on the sidelines, largely ignored by even its “broadcast partner” Comcast SportsNet. The team doesn’t seem to know how to create any kind of buzz around itself, which leads to the apathetic attitude that exists. Having a press conference to announce these signings would be a good first step towards getting the ball rolling (as it were).

    I’m willing to reserve judgement until we see these guys play, but I share the concerns about the surface we play on and their age.

    As far as Kraft “caring” about the Revs, I’m sure he’s interested in them- he started the team, he did pay for those buses to MLS Cup, and he’s been in attendance for some large events. The problem is he doesn’t seem to be even half as invested in them as he is the Patriots. I understand his first love is the Pats. My family’s had season’s tickets since 1973, I know all about his history with American football and the Pats. The problem stems from the fact that he rarely ever mentions the team (you can still find a healthy amount of Pats fans who don’t know he owns the Revs), that he installed a glorified retail manager to run them, and that there seems to be a “penny wise, pound foolish” operating procedure concerning them.

    The team brings in less revenue because they, to many fans, are the redheaded stepchildren. Rather than spend money to change that perception, belts were tightened and expenditures were decreased (for example whittling down the Revs-only employees to a mere handful in 2000 and merging ticket operations with the Patriots). There also seems to be very little sense of urgency in regards to turning around the declining attendance. It’s hard to keep hearing “Bob Kraft really cares” when year after year attendance is trending down and yet the same ho-hum standard operating procedures seem to be in place.

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