Santino Quaranta is congratulated for his goal by head coach Ben Olsen of D.C. United against the Colorado Rapids on April 3, 2011.
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DC decline Quaranta, Simms options with eye on future

WASHINGTON – In their continued effort to return to the upper echelon of MLS teams, D.C. United declined contract options for nine players on Wednesday in order to free up cap space and give the team more maneuverability for offseason roster acquisitions.

Among those nine were Clyde Simms and Santino Quaranta, two of D.C.’s longest tenured players. All will be available for next week’s Re-Entry Draft.

“We need to have some flexibility with the players we’re targeting to bring in,” general manager Dave Kasper told “The unfortunate part of dealing in a salary cap environment is you always have difficult choices every year with your rosters.”

Kasper said none of the players who were declined options will be renegotiated prior to Friday’s deadline, as the club waits to see how the two-stage Re-Entry Draft plays out.

“This is a process that we’ll have to go through, the first Re-Entry and the second Re-Entry,” he said. “We have a lot of options we’re looking at as well, so it’s something we’re addressing on a day-to-day basis.”

Simms and Quaranta, two familiar faces amongst the casualties, aren’t necessarily done in D.C. While a return could be a long shot, if no team selects them in the draft and D.C. re-negotiates a contract at a smaller salary, they could be back in black.

“It’s kind of wide open,” Kasper said. “We need to let the whole Re-Entry process take place and move from there.”

Also in the group of declined options were defenders Marc Burch and Devon McTavish, and midfielders Kurt Morsink and Brandon Barklage.

With the available roster space and cap room, D.C. will continue to search for ways to improve the roster for 2012.

“We obviously have a very solid foundation to build off looking at the past year’s roster,” Kasper said. “We feel we need to add quality with each line to be an even better team.”

No progress on Davies, De Rosario deals

The future of forward Charlie Davies in D.C. remains very much in limbo as the deadline for his year-long loan deal approaches.

“Nothing has really changed,” Kasper said. “We’re still having discussions with his agent on his future.”

The same came can be said for a contract extension for Dwayne De Rosario. The 2011 MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner will be back in D.C. in 2012 because of a club-held option, and Kasper said the two sides will begin discussing a contract extension in the coming weeks.

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for

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