Last month D.C. United received a very special email from a family in Florida. The family, and particularly their youngest daughter Brooke, are diehard D.C. United fans, despite living almost 1000 miles from Washington DC. When they heard the news that the Black-and-Red would be playing in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, they made plans to travel to Orlando for the first match versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Following the match, D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen surprised Brooke with a quick visit at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The young fan told Kitchen that he shared the same number as her, and was therefore her favorite player on the team.
Thank you to Brooke and all of the D.C. United supporters who made it out to Orlando for the match!
Canada Soccer has selected D.C. United defender Dejan Jakovic as Canada’s Men’s Soccer Player of the Month for January after a pair of solid 90-minute performances in friendlies against Denmark and the U.S. The 27-year-old was named Man of the Match in Canada’s 0-0 tie with the U.S. on January 29. Black-and-Red teammate Dwayne De Rosario also featured in both matches, logging 70 minutes against Denmark and 81 minutes against the U.S.
In total, Jakovic has appeared in 14 games for Canada since 2008.
Captain Dwayne De Rosario is ready for the eight-team pre-season tournament.
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) February 7, 2013
Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa takes a selfie from the plane, with a photobomb by fellow Brazilian Raphael Augusto.
Eu e o Mlkii rphaugusto...#Florida# #Orlando# Here we go Again# #PreSeason# @ Ronald Reagan Washington… instagr.am/p/Vbm_1xvsVk/
—M.Saragosa (@MarceloSaragosa) February 7, 2013
First round SuperDraft pick and Colorado native Taylor Kemp is excited to escape to warmer climates.
Back to florida tomorrow, can't say I'm upset to hit the warm weather again #lifeisgood
— Taylor Kemp (@Tkemp02) February 7, 2013
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made it safe and sound.
Landed in Orlando
— Bill Hamid (@BillHamid28) February 7, 2013
Defender Daniel Woolard is ready to train down south.
Back in FL for the last trip of preseason.
— Daniel Woolard (@Woolard21) February 7, 2013
Defender Ethan White spent time with family before departing again.
Dinner date my momma before I depart for preseason trip number 2 to Orlando.
— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) February 7, 2013
Trialist Henry Kalungi is excited for his opportunity in Orlando.
Just landed in Orlando for preseason with Dc United:)
— Henry Kalungi (@HenryKalungi) February 7, 2013
United captain Dwayne De Rosario is catching both fútbol and football today.
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) February 3, 2013
DeRo also wonders where all the Baltimore fans are in his feed.
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) February 3, 2013
Midfielder Perry Kitchen is taking predictions.
Defender Brandon McDonald's loyalties are split.
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) February 3, 2013
Defender Ethan White hopes to make it back to D.C. in time.
A lot to do today before the Super Bowl and heading back to DC tonight. Starting off with brunch.
— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) February 3, 2013
Chris Pontius is happy to return to the District.
Felt good to step on the field again today. It's been real Florida, but I'm ready to get back to DC instagr.am/p/VM3q_3OelK/
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) February 1, 2013
United's captain hopes to bring back some warmth to D.C.
On the road again! Off to #DC for a few days. Hope I can bring some of this sun to DC...
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) February 1, 2013
Defender Ethan White takes advantage of a free weekend to travel.
— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) February 2, 2013
2013 SuperDraft selection Taylor Kemp wishes it wasn't so cold in the nation's capital.
First Florida camp done, excited to head back to dc for a little, but come on does it really have to be freezing when we land?
— Taylor Kemp (@Tkemp02) February 1, 2013
Midfielder Nick DeLeon enjoyed his second go-around at pre-season.
Been a long trip, have one more game today vs malmo fc. Then finally back to dc.
— Nick DeLeon(@NickDeLeon7) February 1, 2013
Midfielder Perry Kitchen valued his time in Bradenton.
Team Dinner. Match in the AM then back to DC. Been a great trip so far
— Perry Kitchen (@PerryKitchen23) January 31, 2013
16-year-old Homegrown signing Michael Seaton is happy to be home.
I'm home ..
BMac comes home to discover a likely high utilities bill for January.
Ummmmm coming home after a LONG pre season trip to find out your heater was on 90degrees THE WHOLE TIME!
With the news that Homegrown Player Andy Najar has been transferred to R.S.C. Anderlecht, D.C. United players tweeted their well-wishes.
United captain Dwayne De Rosario:
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) January 30, 2013
2012 MLS Best XI selection Chris Pontius:
As much as is sucks to lose Andy, I'm genuinely happy for the kid. Great player, unreal potential, awesome person. Good luck Andy
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) January 30, 2013
Fellow United Homegrown products Bill Hamid...:
Big ups to Najar.. Couldn't be more happier for him. Well deserved. Go show the world what u can do playa!!! Congrats kid
— Bill Hamid (@BillHamid28) January 30, 2013
...and Ethan White:
— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) January 30, 2013
Midfielder Perry Kitchen:
Good luck to Andy! What a great opportunity. He is going to kill it!
— Perry Kitchen (@PerryKitchen23) January 30, 2013
Defender Brandon McDonald:
Our team is really goin 2 miss @andy_najar !!! Truly happy for him & his family w this opportunity 2 fulfill his dreams! Hes goin 2 kill it!
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) January 30, 2013
Defender Dejan Jakovic:
Big move for @andy_najar wish you all the best in Belgium with Anderlecht
— Dejan Jakovic (@DejanJakovic) January 30, 2013
And fellow former MLSer and Anderlecht teammate Sacha Kljestan:
Happy that we signed Andy Najar from DC United. Nice to have another former MLS player here at RSCA.
— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) January 30, 2013
In a recent series, MLSsoccer.com has been taking us back in time to highlight some of the biggest stars in the early days of Major League Soccer, and then explores where they are now. One of those stars is none other than D.C. United's first true number 10, Marco "El Diablo" Etcheverry.
Etcheverry spent 8 season with the Black-and-Red and led the team to four MLS Cup appearances, three MLS Cups (1996, ’97 and ’99), one US Open Cup (’96), one CONCACAF Champions’ Cup and a Copa Interamericana (’98). He was named MLS MVP in 1998, and became part of the MLS All-Time XI. He tallied 32 goals and racked up 101 assists during his time with the squad.
But where is he now? Find out on MLSsoccer.com.
Today, Jeff Carlisle of ESPN.com rated the top 10 U.S. Soccer players under 21 and placed D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen at #3 on the list.
Every year in MLS, first-year players hit the dreaded rookie wall, when legs and the mind get heavy thanks to the increased workload of games and travel. According to D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, there has been one exception. “The guy who really didn't go through it was Perry Kitchen,” Olsen said during last year's playoffs. "He went through it for like an hour one day." When Olsen made that statement, Kitchen was well into his second season with the Black-and-Red, but the comment is telling. While the midfielder's skill on the ball, heading ability, and tackling are all excellent, Kitchen's consistency, presence, and leadership are what coaches around MLS talk about most often. It's what allowed him to make the holding midfield spot his own last season, one that looks to remain in his hands for the foreseeable future. Not bad for a guy who is still only 20. “For me, he's been fantastic," Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth. "As a young player, establishing himself, he's so mature for his age. He's always been that way.”
Kitchen, a 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year runner-up, eluded the rookie wall and experienced no sophomore slump during his first two seasons in the League. In his inaugural MLS campaign, Kitchen became the only first-year player in United history to lead the team in minutes played (2, 726). And in 2012, the University of Akron product came up one minute shy of tying the club’s previous single-season record for minutes (2,805), held by Jeff Agoos in 1996.
Beach, fishing, movies and rest were the highlights of the Black-and-Red’s off-day.
While pre-season is in full swing, D.C. United was given a rare day off on Sunday. Some took the day to rest, while others took full advantage of the local beaches and attractions.
Daniel Woolard took a cruise up to St. Petersburg to go fishing with former D.C. United Strength Coach Pete Calabrese. While Woolard reeled in a few fish, he told me that he didn’t land any worth taking photos of.
Others, like Nick DeLeon, Joe Willis, Marcelo Saragosa, John Thorrington and Lionard Pajoy took the time to visit one of the most picturesque beaches in the world, Siesta Key Beach.
Siesta Key Beach Florida!!!Enjoying the day Off!!! @ Siesta Key Beach instagr.am/p/U_isgiPsUH/
—M.Saragosa (@MarceloSaragosa) January 27, 2013
Chris Pontius and newcomer Casey Townsend relaxed before going to see Django Unchained at a nearby theatre last night.
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) January 28, 2013
While players were all over the map in terms of what they did on their off day, one thing was consistent, they all enjoyed a bit of rest and relaxation after an already long pre-season camp in Bradenton, Florida.
D.C. United midfielder Nick DeLeon has declined Trinidad & Tobago’s invitation to participate in a friendly against Peru on February 6. The 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year finalist was born in Phoenix, Ariz., but is also eligible to play for the island nation due to his father’s ties to the country.
In his inaugural MLS season, DeLeon appeared in 28 games (25 starts), tallying four assists and breaking D.C. United’s rookie goal-scoring record (6) during the regular season. The University of Louisville product also added two goals in the MLS Cup playoffs, including an 88th minute game-winner in Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Red Bulls.