Yesterday, the Houston Dynamo announced that they had signed defender/midfielder Jared Watts from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for $100,000 in TAM. As Dynamo Theory writer Harrison Hamm pointed out in his piece yesterday, Watts provides depth to at least two positions and the price was right for the versatile player.
I wanted to speak to someone that has watched much more of him so that we can get a handle on what type of player the Dynamo signed. I spoke with John Rosch of Burgundy Wave in the search for answers.
Dynamo Theory: Jared Watts appears to be quite the versatile player with experience in the midfield and along the back line. Where do you think he excels the most?
Burgundy Wave: Jared was drafted as a midfielder and primarily was deployed in more of a defensive midfield role and eventually was deputized along the back line during the 2014 season due to injury and did fairly well. He was a tenacious defender and did his best to learn a position, but it was something that was not a natural shift and did struggle. I do think it’s important to note that many players struggled in 2014 and the team itself was fairly terrible. He continued to grow in the 2015 and 2016 season and became a more reliable option and was moved to defender and did fairly well. He made over 70 appearances for the club and seemed to enjoy being in Colorado.
As for his best position...that is hard to say. I think he is a better defensive midfielder than a defender, but he was hampered by bad coaching and knee jerk reactions to bad plays. Every young player was prone to mess up from time to time, but there seem to be punishment for Watts when he did screw up. And with the change in coaching and style in Colorado, it was a matter of time that he left. And he will not be the last one.
DT: What are some attributes that set Watts apart from others? What are some areas of his game that need improving?
BW: Vision. Jared is good at playing the ball when it’s at his feet and is good taking on players, but he does lack vision in looking at the whole playing field. He will make passes and plays that lack the awareness of what is going on. (See the DC United loss last year at Dick’s for evidence of this). He busts his butt each game and will leave it all out there (he will never lack effort) but sometimes he just loses where everything is on the pitch.
DT: What’s the reaction out of Colorado about the trade and will Watts be missed?
BW: Mixed. Watts was an inexpensive option and it’s hard to lose players on a team that is going through so much transition. Could Watts have worked on this team? Who knows. But it was clear that Hudson and the new Rapids regime did not rate him and he was moved on. And as I said, he will not be the last one that moves on this window and season.