Whitecaps and MLS drive Alain Rochat off of the continent

July 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 3 Comments

The news came recently that former Whitecap Alain Rochat has left DC United and gone back to Switzerland for a fee of $500,000. The Vancouver Whitecaps traded Rochat to DC United against his wishes, and just as his wife was set to give birth, about a month and a half or so ago. Rochat was not consulted, and was not pleased with the trade. The Whitecaps received a Measly pair of draft picks in exchange for this fine footballer.

Rochat did not settle in DC, which can come as no surprise given his family situation, and is on his bike back home.

This is a very bad result indeed for Whitecaps and MLS fans. Rochat is a quality footballer even if his form dipped a bit this year, and one well worth watching as a paying fan. The Whitecaps and MLS should be trying to retain such talent, not driving it off of the continent. Even if I could no longer see the player in a Whitecaps jersey, I would be happy to see him playing in the league because he has a lot of finesse and class as a player.

The fact Rochat has left the MLS is a very poor result for everyone concerned, especially for football fans.


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  1. I hate to be blunt here, but it’s not like this is the first year that’s ever happened in MLS history. Rochat’s selective blindness and subsequent antics when he is the one who gets traded looks bad on everyone.

    Rochat was a great player who’s contributions on the team were waining and who’s salary situation made him not a value to the club any longer. Of course a team is going to make moves to correct that. They did, he didn’t like it, so he took his ball and went home.

    • Maybe I can lend some unique perspective here, as I lived and worked in Switzerland for 15 years.
      I’ll start by saying: Yes, Rochat should have been prepared for a trade at any point in his MLS tenure – his agent should have ensured that he knew the score coming in, if he hadn’t already done so. But ignoring the background of Rochat’s European, and in particular Swiss heritage and footballing experience doesn’t help to understand the situation. In Europe, trades/transfers almost always require player consent, since contracts there are with individual clubs, and not the league (as is the case in MLS). As such, there would be dialogue with the player leading up to any kind of deal. Obviously in Rochat’s case, there was no such consultation. Added into this difference in terms of handling deals is the fact that in Switzerland labour law is far more socialistic – the term “Solidaeritaet” comes up all the time – essentially expressing the social partnership between employer and employee. By law, employers pay a monthly supplement for each child the employee has – a baby bonus if you will. Swiss employers are far more used to accommodate for absences due to things like military service, stays abroad for language learning, a much more generous maternity leave, etc., etc. Transferring an employee across the continent (equivalent distance VAN to DC), mere weeks before the impending birth of a child would be virtually unimaginable within the context of the Swiss experience.
      Rochat clearly wasn’t prepared for the reality of playing in MLS, maybe through his own fault, maybe not. But his reaction is completely understandable if you look at the culture that has informed his previous working experience. Makes one wonder why the Vancouver Whitecaps could not have explored avenues with all the teams in the Raiffeisen League to work out the same kind of deal that DC so cleverly arranged with Bern.

  2. Whoops… Meant to say not the first *trade…

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