Last week, MLS' Competition Committee drastically changed the foreign player rules for 2008 and beyond. Gone are age-level distinctions on internationals, and each team is now allowed eight non-Americans (and green card holders) on its roster. So, with the holiday season around us, let's dive into obscurity and look at a former Metro who once squeezed by that international limit, Darin Lewis. And since we like to do these in pairs, we're also gonna look at another Lewis, Andrew, who seems to share nothing with Darin other than his surname and his level of Metro irrelevance.
Darin Lewis was signed by the MetroStars on April 1st, 2002, and received his work permit later that month, as the team was forced to jettison the oh-so-hard-to-acquire Winston Griffiths (see his own Obscure Files for details). Lewis, a forward, and a full Trinidad international, spent a season with the Portland Timbers of the A-League after two years in college with UConn, when he helped the Huskies to the NCAA title in 2000, scoring in the final.
When Lewis got to Metro, however, he landed fourth on the depth chart at forward, behind Clint Mathis, Diego Serna, and Rodrigo Faria. After making his debut on April 27th against San Jose, he earned his one and only start May 18th in DC, earned a penalty kick four minutes in, but had to be taken off ten minutes later after an injury.
That appearance, Lewis' third, proved to be his last for Metro. Six days later, a massive trade went through that sent Serna and two others to the Revolution, and brought back the unforgettable bounty of Mamadou Diallo, Andy Williams, and Ted Chronopoulos. But with only one international player (Serna) going out, two coming in (Diallo and Williams), and Faria already in board, Metro was now maxed out. So Darin was sent packing, after totaling just 48 minutes in his three matches.
His namesake, Andrew Lewis, was drafted out of Princeton in the third round of college draft prior to the 1997 season. A local product out of New Providence, Lewis was a surprising starter on defense on that season's opening day, in a scoreless shootout loss at San Jose. He kept his job for three more matches, and wound up playing in 19 games overall, starting 15, in the center of defense, as well as at right back. However, most of those minutes came earlier in the season, as the acquisitions of Mark Semioli, Brian Bliss, and Branco made defensive minutes harder to obtain.
Still, Andrew did not distinguish himself enough for any supporters to be concerned when Metro left him exposed for the Expansion Draft, when he was nabbed by his former college coach, Bob Bradley, and the Chicago Fire. Lewis ended up spending the next four years in Chicago, mostly in a reserve role, but did play a major role in the Fire's 2000 Open Cup campaign. After that, it was off to the USL, where he spent a number of years with the Charleston Battery, then went to the Atlanta Silverbacks, before retiring to attend med school.
As for Darin, whether he was a victim of the restrictions or not, he has not sniffed MLS since his Metro departure. He spent some time in the USL, with Hampton Roads, and then when back to Trinidad, where he spent last season in the league's second division, leading WASA FC to promotion over such teams as M&M Harvard, Carenage United, Crab Connection, and House of Dread.
House of Dread? Are we sure we're not talking about Metro here?