The decision to part ways with defensive midfielder Julio Cesar earlier this week was not an easy one, according to Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes. Long-term goals and roster developments made it necessary to waive the Brazilian veteran on Monday.
“We offered him something in a coaching position, but that wasn't the way he wanted to go,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday, a day after the 34-year-old and three others were let go. “It's never easy to waive someone, but there are a lot of things that go into a decision like that.”
Julio Cesar, a reliable starter in his two seasons with Sporting, is 34. Uri Rosell, who arrived in midseason and has established himself firmly in the mix at holding mid, is only 20 and was singled out for praise by Vermes after the club's final playoff match.
Still, the manager said Rosell's late-season emergence wasn't the sole reason for the waiver.
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“It's not like you say, 'OK, he had one great game at the end,' and make your decision based on that,” Vermes said. “It's money, it's roster, it's what you expect to get out of a player going forward.”
Julio Cesar, whose career includes stints with European powers Real Madrid and Inter Milan, had three goals and three assists in 58 regular-season and playoff appearances for Sporting, with one goal this season.
Sporting also waived three defenders on Monday: Konrad Warzycha, Neven Markovic and Cyprian Hedrick.
Warzycha, a third-round SuperDraft pick as a midfielder in 2011, sat out his rookie year to a knee injury and was shifted to central defense this year. He made one league appearance and two appearances in the US Open Cup.
“In his heart of hearts, he's still a midfielder,” Vermes said, “and he just doesn't fit into our plans at that position.”
The waiver of Markovic, a midseason acquisition who appeared in two league matches, frees up an international spot.
“He was more of a left-side guy,” Vermes said, “and we have some redundancy at that position.”
Hedrick, a second-round draft pick in January, sustained a broken shinbone during training in May and did not see the pitch as a rookie.
“We talked to him about what he needs to do,” Vermes said. “I think he needs to go somewhere like a USL team and get some experience. That would be the best thing for him right now.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.