Just as outside observers of the Union are anticipating big changes this offseason, so are some of the most important players on the team.
"Everybody knows players come, players go, so for sure there are going to be some new faces next year. And because we also have a new sporting director, for sure he is going to bring something," midfielder Haris Medunjanin said Friday afternoon. "He'll want to put in his own philosophy. It's going to be a lot, but we as soccer players know that, and that's how it goes."
Medunjanin and captain Alejandro Bedoya said that Tanner hasn't met with players yet to offer an in-depth explanation of his vision.
"He hasn't really been hands-on yet with us [compared to] Earnie" Stewart, the Union's prior sporting director, Bedoya said. "But he's still just settling in and getting comfortable, I suppose. We'll come in for preseason. I'm sure he'll have a plan mapped out with Jim [Curtin] and whoever's here and whatever players he decides to bring in and add to the team."
There is no certainty that he'll map a plan out with Curtin, though. The Union's manager doesn't have a contract past this year, and whether he stays is up to Tanner.
Bedoya, Medunjanin and Andre Blake all stood up for Curtin and expressed hope he'll stay.
"He takes care of his players, and I think he's got a great relationship with us all," Blake said.
"He's always telling me honest things, and if he's not happy he tells me. I like that," Medunjanin said. "I think with the young kids, to give them the opportunity, that also says a lot that he believes in them and likes to take risks because he believes he can win with them. That's a main thing as a coach to have, that you're not afraid to put young guys in your team, and especially in these kinds of positions. … I think to be that confident, that says a lot of the coach."
Bedoya put the blame for the team's late-season collapse on the players, not the manager.
"To have to concede goals early is tough for any team, especially when you're playing away. That's not really Jim's fault. That just comes down to naive errors from our end and things that we can learn from," he said. "I think we've shown this year that it's possible to have a good team with young players mixed in with some good veteran experienced guys. … I don't know if Jim gets enough credit as he should based on the team that he's putting out, when you compare to some of the other clubs around the league, and how the league has been moving forward, other teams' quality of players and the type of money that they're spending."