Alain Rochat met the media Monday, the first time in front of a microphone since he was dealt from the Vancouver Whitecaps last week, and the freshly minted D.C. United defender/midfielder did not hold back with his criticisms of the trade system common in North American sports, but less so internationally.
Rochat, 30, began his MLS career with the Whitecaps during their expansion season in 2011 and appeared in 67 regular-season games for the club before last Thursday, when Vancouver shipped him to last-place D.C. United in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2015 SuperDraft and a conditional pick in 2016.
“If you ask my opinion, I’d say it’s terrible,” Rochat told Soccer By Ives of the trade process, adding that the move came at an especially tough time for him and his pregnant wife. “This trade thing could be OK in the offseason. You can sit down and talk to the guys. ‘OK, it will be better for you to be traded.’ You know, like something human instead of, ‘OK, we don’t need you anymore.’”
Rochat said that he knew that potential changes could be looming for him in the offseason, considering the Whitecaps have begun to use Jordan Harvey more regularly at left back and the pairing of Nigel Reo-Coker and Jun Marques Davidson as holding midfielders. Rochat started 11 of the Whitecaps' 16 games this season, and Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie told media last week that the move opened up salary cap space that could lead to future moves for the club this season.
“We were obviously well aware of the fact that his wife was expecting and made a point of letting him know that whatever route he took in terms of the move to D.C. ... we would do whatever we possibly could to make the transition as smooth a one as possible,” Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “So, we were cognizant of the fact that a trade, in my opinion, unless you want to be traded, is always going to come as a shock.
“Regardless of what your personal situation it’s always going to be something that I’m assuming would be difficult to deal with.”
Rochat is available to make his debut in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday, when D.C. United host the Philadelphia Union.
“We’ll see how he deals with the transition,” United coach Ben Olsen told SBI. “He helps us out offensively and defensively, been around a lot, brings us some experience, and his versatility will help us as well.”
Olsen said that Rochat is an option at left back, defensive midfield or center back with his new club. Chris Korb has been the regular for United at left back this season, while Dejan Jakovic and Brandon McDonald have gotten most of the starts at center back, though Ethan White and Daniel Woolard have also seen time, including starting together in last weekend's away draw against the New England Revolution.
MLSsoccer.com's Martin MacMahon contributed to this report.