An inside look at the MLS allocation
tongue firmly in cheek -- discussed an array of topics with the newest member of the Earthquakes. The following is a transcript of what proved to be enlightening look into this, unique, but often misunderstood fraternity.
Mr. Allocation, welcome to San Jose. How does it feel to be in Northern California?
Actually, what do you prefer to be called?
"Well officially I think some people like to call me the 'Dallas failure to make the '04 playoffs full allocation,' but that's a mouthful. You can just call me Nod... it's Swedish."
Well Nod, how are you adjusting to the trade?
"Listen, every allocation dreams of being used toward a big-time foreign international signing, you know someone that comes in and sets the league on fire. Obviously it didn't happen in Dallas, but hey, I'm excited about the opportunity to be used in San Jose."
The Quakes have won two MLS Cups, but are in the process of revamping the roster. How do you see yourself meshing with the squad in San Jose?
"Most importantly, the Quakes have proven that they are a capable organization that plays the way I like to ... hard, fast and all out. Some people claim that I am mysterious, but I don't believe that to be the case at all. I just believe that big-time allocations like myself can always find ways to work within the system and that is what I will do. The team is in good hands with Dom [Kinnear] and John [Doyle] on the sideline, those two guys are a major reason why I wanted to come here. In addition, I know that I will work well with Brian Ching, Brian Mullan and Ricardo Clark."
Is there anyone in San Jose that you're looking forward to meeting?
"Actually I can't wait to hang with the Landon Donovan partial allocation. I admired the full LD allocation before it was split last week on the Ricardo Clark trade, but as far as I'm concerned the remaining part was always the class of that allocation. I actually requested to room with it during preseason."
What do feel your strengths and weaknesses are?
"Well, I like to think I add value to whatever team I'm with. Maybe that's my ego talking, but I suppose all the great ones have a healthy amount of self worth. Just take a look at the Tim Howard allocation, or the Adu allocation, or a guy like Preki ... talk about walking around like your you-know-what doesn't stink! But you know what? Those guys backed it up. As far as weaknesses? I guess sometimes I can provide a false sense of security, that ... and my crossing leaves something to be desired."
Being an allocation, and replacing a San Jose fixture like Richard Mulrooney would be a lot of pressure on anyone. How do you think you can stand up to the expectations?
"That is a great question. Everywhere I have been, there have been expectations and pressure, let me tell you that. In fact, I have played in places that are probably a lot more uncomfortable to go down to the corner and get your coffee the morning after a loss than San Jose. However, I know that the fans and the team expect me to come in and make an impact in this league, and I believe that I can do that. Ever since I was young, I have been training and concentrating on being a part of a team like this. I assure you, I will not let this opportunity get past me. However, I understand that this is a team game. I am just one man ... er ... allocation."
What do you think about the addition of Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake?
"Now, I was a friend with the Real Salt Lake allocation that was used for Clint Mathis. Man, as an allocation, that's the way you want to go! Big star, crowd favorite and you know there's a good chance that Cleetus is going to get your name in the paper."
What about a personal life?
"To be honest, I haven't really had the time. It's pretty stressful being an allocation. You want to live up to expectations but you're always being undervalued; it can really mess with your confidence. To a certain degree I can understand people's attitudes towards us. Remember all the allocations that haven't worked out? I just don't want to go out like that. Now I'm not saying it's all work and no play. Actually, you'd be amazed at the power of being a full allocation. I don't want to brag, but I've been propositioned by pretty much every GM at one time or another. They all want to try and get a piece of me. Can't blame 'em really."
Would you ultimately like to finish up your career in San Jose?
"Yeah that would be great, but you know, it's a funny business. I haven't been around long, but I've been around long enough to realize that everyone sees me differently. Let me put it this way, I'm not going to rush out and buy a place in San Jose."
Any final thoughts?
"I'd just like to give a shout-out to all the allocations and partial allocations around the league. I know it's tough but you've got to keep the faith; don't let anyone tell you what you're worth. Your dollar amount shouldn't define you. Peace."