When FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told SBI earlier this week that he was open to offers for midfielder Dave Van Den Bergh, the news came as no surprise to MLS teams. However, when he said that the team's assist leader was still in Dallas' plans, that statement came as news to one person.
It came as news to Van Den Bergh.
"If I'm in their plans they have a funny way of showing it," Van Den Bergh said. "I haven't even been offered a contract. You would think if I were a part of their plans I would have at least gotten some sort of offer. I haven't even been offered minimum."
FC Dallas declined to pick up the option on Van Den Bergh's contract and has been shopping Van Den Bergh's rights for some time. Dallas has yet to find a taker, but that could change on Thursday at the 2010 MLS Draft. The New York Red Bulls are one of several teams believed to have interest in the Dutch winger, but no deal has yet to be reached.
Van Den Bergh posted three goals and 11 assists (third-most in MLS) in 2009, helping FC Dallas enjoy a strong second half of the season. Those results weren't enough to earn him a new contract on a team that has handed new deals and picked up extensions for Jeff Cunningham, Dax McCarty, Daniel Hernandez and David Ferreira, who had his option picked up by Dallas on Wednesday.
"I can understand if it's a money issue, but if it's about the salary cap, why haven't they even made a low offer yet" Van Den Bergh said. "It's pretty obvious what is going on so everybody should just be honest about it."
Despite the lack of a contract, MLS rules give FC Dallas the rights to Van Den Bergh. The question is just what it will take in a trade to pry away the 33-year-old midfielder.
Sources tell SBI that FC Dallas is shopping around in an effort to move up the MLS Allocation Order to select midfielder Lee Nguyen, who has returned to the United States after a stint in the Vietnamese League. As a one-time U.S. national team player, Nguyen can only be picked up via the Allocation process. With several teams ahead of FC Dallas in the order, the club's best chance of securing Nguyen's rights is to make a trade with one of the team's higher up in the order.
One of those teams is the New York Red Bulls, which Van Den Bergh spent two seasons with. He helped lead New York to the 2008 MLS Cup Final and admitted that he is open to a return to New York.
"Not a single part of me wanted to leave New York when I left," Van Den Bergh said. "That situation was out of my control."
What does seem clear at this point is that Van Den Bergh has played his last match for FC Dallas. Van Den Bergh doesn't know where he will play next, but he knows he isn't ready to retire.
"I'm too fit and still have too much soccer in me to retire," said Van Den Bergh. "I know I can still play and hopefully something can get done so I can keep playing the way I know I can."