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Union pays Houston to grab Califf
by Ridge Mahoney, December 4th, 2009 7AM
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[MLS] However much allocation money has been allotted to Philadelphia for its expansion season, the club hasn't been reluctant to use it. After sending, according to reports, more than $200,000 to Real Salt Lake in exchange for goalkeeper Chris Seitz, the Union swapped an undisclosed amount of allocation money to snag the rights to U.S. defender Danny Califf, 29, who is coming back to MLS after playing four seasons in Denmark.

The minimum amount of allocation money that can be used in a transaction is $75,000 and teams can spent any amount above that. Philadelphia, according to a source, has been granted more than $1 million in allocation money but the exact amount is not known.

Under league rules, though Califf would be subject to the allocation process as a U.S. national team player had he not played in MLS, his last league club retains rights to him in perpetuity even though he had played out his contract, since the Dynamo -- formerly the original San Jose MLS entry -- had attempted to re-sign him. When an MLS player is transferred while under contract, his former club receives a percentage of the transfer fee in lieu of retaining his rights, but out-of-contract players who leave on free transfers are treated differently.

Califf played collegiately at Maryland, represented the U.S. at the U-17 and U-20 levels, and competed in the 2000 Olympic Games soccer tournament before turning pro. He played four seasons (2001-04) for the Galaxy, which twice reached the MLS Cup title game, and spent the 2005 season in San Jose, which lost to the Galaxy in the playoffs to start LA's title run.

If it keeps Califf, a Southern California native, the Union can send out a pair of experienced, rugged defenders in Califf and Shavar Thomas, who was claimed from Chivas USA in the expansion draft. Including Seitz, Califf and the other expansion pickups, the Union has rights to 12 players.

Because it didn't use an allocation to get Califf, Philadelphia remains on top of the allocation list, and has also holds the first pick in each round of the 2010 SuperDraft, to be held in Philly next month.



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