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Seattle owner Adrian Hanauer talks about pliable MLS personnel rules

Kasey Keller, Adrian Hanauer

In this photo taken Oct. 4, 2011, Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, left, celebrates with Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer, right, after the Sounders beat the Chicago Fire 2-0 to win the U.S. Open Cup Final, in Seattle. This season will be Kellers’ final MLS season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


This is fascinating stuff from the Sounder at Heart blog, where Seattle owner Adrian Hanauer talks candidly about the sausage making in MLS high-dollar player personnel matters, the buying, selling, loaning and trading of pricey assets in a league some rules are still being arranged on the fly.

Long story short, Hanauer (right, in 2011 with Kasey Keller) wanted an extra bite off the DP apple, and he cops to as much. Again, that’s where the still-murky mechanics of DP asset control leaves room for interpretation. So, it’s not like Hanauer was trying to skirt the rules. He just sought to use their pliability to club advantage, a.k.a. what every owner in every salary-capped league does.

Specifically, lately, Hanauer wanted new German playmaker Christian Tiffert. But they also wanted to keep midfielder Alvaro Fernandez. From the piece at Sounder At Heart, here’s what Hanauer had to say:

There isn’t a 100-page rulebook on DPs at this point, so it’s a bit of a work in progress. I think ultimately, it’s my understanding that the league’s position was that if we were to loan Alvaro out for instance, outside of the league, we would effectively have four designated-players under our control if we brought another one in. In that regard, you could start stockpiling Designated Players, loan them out all over the world, let them improve or find the optimal time when you needed an outside midfielder back and make a transaction.”

There’s a lot more contract talk nitty-gritty that Hanauer goes on to discuss, the serious stuff too, like amortizing the guaranteed portion of player contracts, short-term guarantees married with long-term options and such, and how the Sounders’ owner wonders if the system is ripe for gaming.