- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2002

D.C. United coach Ray Hudson was introduced to the media yesterday and made it very clear that the club's post-game news conferences will never again be the same.
The colorful Hudson, known for his hilarious quote collection, didn't fail to please the crowd at the District's ESPN Zone. Hudson's audience included dozens of United fans and a number of United players.
"This is not just big," said Hudson, still a little shell-shocked on acquiring the United job, "this is Anna Nicole Smith big … this eclipses every job in the league."
Hudson, 46, was named United coach Tuesday, immediately after Major League Soccer dissolved his former club, the Miami Fusion, and the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
With his thick British accent, Hudson said he was thrilled to be in the nation's capital after playing and coaching for 25 years in South Florida.
"The palm trees and the beach were wonderful but it has never dominated me," Hudson said. "Soccer down there dominated me … I don't know how long it will take for me to fit into all this political correctness here. I doubt it will happen. I'm just here for the football."
Hudson said it "was beyond belief" that United a three-time MLS champion failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons. He believes United's problems stemmed from "a lack of faith in one style of play" and bad luck.
"This will be a team with belief," Hudson promised. "They will be bursting out of their shorts. They will come out like jets and act like gladiators behind the bayonet … I'm going to let the players express themselves, to play free like lads in a sandlot. These lads will bloom under me."
After two difficult years under coach Thomas Rongen, who was fired in October, United's players seemed relieved to have a new face at the helm.
"He's a man that always has a game plan," United defender Carey Talley said. "He was always very organized when he played us."
Said United midfielder Ben Olsen: "Ray gets you fired up and makes you feel lucky. He's behind the players and a player's coach."
Hudson's first task with the club is to attend tomorrow's dispersal draft in New York, where many of his former players at Miami will be looking for new clubs.
"It will be like a group of vultures picking at a carcass," Hudson said.
Hudson didn't say what players United would look for at the draft but suggested the team needed to "tighten up" in defense and generate more "tenacity" in the midfield. He promised no big changes with the team but said he would "take off the blankets" and do a "little fine-tuning."
After the draft Hudson will head back to Florida to "take a six-pack and cigar and sit on the beach one last time," and be back next week to meet all the players.
In other MLS news yesterday, the Colorado Rapids signed a three-year deal to play at Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High, avoiding a move to another city.
Only the lower bowl of the 76,125-seat stadium home to the the NFL Denver Broncos will be available to fans during games.
The Rapids formerly played at the Broncos' old home, Mile High Stadium, which is slated for demolition. Colorado, like United, is operated by the Anschutz Entertainment Group.


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