In Search Of The Perfect Dynamo Designated Player: The Long List

Could one of these stars be in Houston Dynamo orange in 2011? Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Diego Forlan during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Uruguay and South Korea at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth, South Africa. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Houston Dynamo have been told to go out and find a 'significant player' to fill their Designated Player spot. Could someone on this list be the answer to Houston's DP dreams?

A few weeks ago Houston Dynamo fans received the news they had been waiting for over five years to here: the Dynamo stadium deal is almost complete and a major Designated Player (DP) will be signed in the next year.

With the stadium deal, Dynamo fans felt like they were finally getting what had been promised years ago. For many, a stadium was beyond past-due, and having the Dynamo, one of Major League Soccer's most successful clubs, playing in a college football stadium with football lines and a lack of revenue control was a disgrace to MLS, the club and the club's huge and diverse fan base. After playing at Robertson Stadium for two years too long, the Dynamo could finally look forward to playing in their own stadium, a place the athletes, staff and fans will call home.

But the real cherry on the sundae was AEG telling Dynamo management to go out and find a significant designated player. Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG, the majority owner of the Dynamo, commented that the Dynamo should pursue a significant player. He said, ‘From a business standpoint, the only thing I've asked Chris (Canetti) and Dom (Kinnear) to do is don't dip your toe in the water. If you are going, go big. I don't believe in halfway, and there is a commitment amongst all our partners to make it a significant player that moves the needle from a business standpoint, fan standpoint, as well as on the pitch.'

After losing talent like Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario and Stuart Holden in the last three seasons, the Dynamo would finally be able to bolster the team sheet and create a some new buzz in the league by signing a major designated player.

The Dynamo front office pledged that it would go ahead and start the search for the right player. But before the search for the perfect designated player can start, it is important that the search committee set up some requirements and expectations that the player must meet. Realistically, those requirements should look something like this: the DP has to help the team become better and win another championship, fill the team's needs (predominately attacking right now), must help sell tickets and merchandise, must pull fans into the stadium from varying demographics and have a relatively low salary ($2-$4million per year).

Those are not easy requirements to fill, so Canetti and Kinnear will have to be willing to look far and wide to find the perfect player for both the Dynamo and Houston. In order to help the Dynamo as much as possible, Zach ‘The Ginge' Woosley from Dynamo Theory and I have created a long list of players who could potentially fill Houston's designated player position.

Over the next few weeks, Ginge and I will take a closer look at our long list and try to find the ideal DP for the Dynamo. Week by week we will cut names after applying specific criteria and applying metrics that involve the needs of the Dynamo, how realistic a signing scenario is and whether or player could be a major draw for fans throughout the league. Once those tests are complete, we will present to a group of five to ten players who the Dynamo should pursue. For each of those possibilities, we will analyze and examine what the specific player would bring to Houston and how he would best fit into the culture of the club and the Dynamo's future.

So, until we announce the first set of criteria and start the testing, here is your long list of potential Houston Dynamo designated players.

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