Well folks, it’s about that time. We’re halfway through D.C. United’s shortest offseason in its history and, coincidentally, exactly two months away from our home opener on Saturday, March 9 against Real Salt Lake. Not only that, but the full-season MLS schedule was just announced today, so there’s plenty to be excited about.
March is sneaking up on us, and we like it.
Below is the duration between each season. We measured it by examining the club’s final regular-season or playoff (if applicable) game and the first MLS match of the ensuing campaign.
LENGTH BETWEEN EACH SEASON
1996 to 1997: 160 days
1997 to 1998: 140 days
1998 to 1999: 146 days
1999 to 2000: 125 days
2000 to 2001: 210 days
2001 to 2002: 196 days
2002 to 2003: 205 days
2003 to 2004: 146 days
2004 to 2005: 146 days
2005 to 2006: 154 days
2006 to 2007: 153 days
2007 to 2008: 149 days
2008 to 2009: 157 days
2009 to 2010: 154 days
2010 to 2011: 147 days
2011 to 2012: 140 days
2012 to 2013: 104 days
After D.C. United’s schedule was released, we decided to take a closer look and highlight some things you might have missed if you were just glancing through. One thing is consistent with this year’s schedule: it provides all United fans great opportunity to catch their club at RFK Stadium. Instead of multiple mid-week games last year, D.C. United only plays once on a Wednesday at home. Most home games are on Saturdays, and have an earlier time-slot at 7:00 instead of 7:30 (for non-nationally televised games). Check out more on the schedule below:
- D.C. United plays on national television 12 times throughout the year. Two of those games are on NBC (D.C. United has two of the three games on the NBC network this year).
- D.C. United plays five games in June and August, while the Black-and-Red play four games in the months of March, April, May, July, September and October.
- D.C. United ends the season with six Eastern Conference foes (New England, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Houston), three are on the road and three are at RFK.
- The Black-and-Red play on NBC twice, ESPN2 once, NBC Sports Network six times, and UniMas three times.
- Rivalry week: Week three of the MLS season is rivalry week with D.C. United facing off against its Eastern Conference rival, the New York Red Bulls.
- Mark your calendars: D.C. United will play against the 2012 Supporters Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes at home on 6/22 at 7:00pm and play against the regular season Eastern Conference Champions Sporting Kansas City at home on 5/19 at 5:00pm.
- Beat the heat: Between June and September, where average temperatures and humidity in the nation’s capital soar, D.C. United has no games during the daytime.
With an array of family and budget friendly ticket packages, from season tickets to a four-game entry package, it's never been easier to be a part of the Black-and-Red. Buy your season tickets, half-season tickets, or four-game plans today HERE.
How was your holiday break?
Joe Willis: It’s been pretty awesome. Back in St. Louis for pretty much all of it, hanging out with my family, so it was a pretty good break.
Do you have a lot of friends who are still back in St. Louis?
JW: Yeah, a lot high school friends I hadn’t seen in a while, so it was good times.
So, when are you leaving for England?
JW: I’m leaving tonight – my flight is at 6:15 p.m.
Are you all packed and ready to go?
JW: Ha! Nope. I am not packed at all, haven’t even started packing. Yeah…I know. It’s going to be a pretty busy day – have to take care of a bunch of stuff before I head over there, but it should be alright.
How did this opportunity to train with Sunderland materialize?
JW: A little while ago, [D.C. United goalkeeping coach] Pat [Onstad] came up to me and told me that there might be an opportunity for me to train with an English team over the break and he asked me if I wanted to do it, and I told him, ‘Absolutely.’ Anytime you have an opportunity to train with a Premier League team, you’re not really going to pass it up.
How long are you over there?
JW: I’ll be over there until – so I fly over there tonight [January 8] and I’ll be flying back on January 16.
Have you ever been to England or any other part of Europe?
JW: I have been. I went to England, actually I trained with three different teams for three weeks right before I got drafted by DC. So basically, this time two years I was over there. That’s the only time I’ve been over there.
Which teams were you training with two years ago?
JW: I spent a week with Tottenham Hotspur, I spent a week with Fulham and then I spent a week in Wales with Cardiff City.
So, you’ve had experience being over there. How would you say living and playing in the U.K. is different from the U.S., if at all?
JW: It’s fun, I like it. It’s pretty similar, to be honest, as far as the way they go about their daily business. It’s a little more high-profile, I guess, but it’s pretty similar.
What are you hoping to accomplish with this training stint?
JW: My goals are really to enjoy myself and take it as a learning experience, try to learn as much as I can from the coaches I have over there. It’s always fun to get a fresh perspective from different coaches.
With Andy [Najar] being over there in Belgium, are there any plans for you guys to meet up and grab a Belgian waffle over there or some fish and chips in England?
JW: Ha, I don’t think so. I haven’t talked to Andy. I’m sure he’s pretty busy, and I’ll be pretty busy over there, so I don’t think I’ll be meeting up with him.
Having played 11 games last season, what goals have you set for yourself for this year?
JW: Really, I’m just always trying to get better. Whatever happens, happens – whether I play or Bill [Hamid] plays or Andrew [Dykstra] plays or whoever, I’m really just trying, always trying, to get better. So, whatever happens will happen and the only thing I can control is making yourself better.
What is the biggest difference you have seen in your game now versus your rookie season in 2011?
JW: Definitely, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with all of it. I’ve gotten to know the guys and everyone in the D.C. United organization and you know, having two years experience now definitely feels a lot more comfortable. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better as a player with the coaching staff at D.C. United and I’m less nervous and more excited now.
What areas specifically in your goalkeeping have you seen improvement in?
JW: I would say that my positioning has gotten a lot better. That was one of Pat’s [Onstad] strong points as a player, so that’s something he’s been able to pass on to myself and the other goalies. Reading the game and communicating – it can still be better for me, but it’s definitely gotten better since I joined.
How proud were you of one of your DC training partners, Bill [Hamid], getting called up again to the U.S. Men’s National Team?
JW: Oh yeah, it’s great. Bil’’s a good goalie and he deserves it, so it’s exciting to see him get called into the National Team. It’s tough having him on the same team when it’s a position where only one guy can play, but it’s also good having strong competition in your spot because it makes me better and helps motivate me to be better.
Now I think the most important question that our fans want to know – how’s the beard coming along?
JW: Ha, the beard is coming along. It’s not quite where I want it yet, but it’s definitely getting there. It hasn’t really been touched since I started growing it [in November], so it’s getting a little wild, a little out of control.
So, you’re pretty much committed to a year of this?
JW: Yeah, I’m committed to a year, but we’ll see. I’m going to play it by ear and see how it goes. I still got, like, seven or eight months left to grow it, so in a few months once it starts getting a little longer, we’ll see. Right now the plan is for the next seven or eight months to keep it growing.
If you’re jonesin’ for a job in sports, then this is the contest for you. For the first time, Major League Soccer’s National Sales Center will conduct a recruitment search through Twitter.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Follow @MLSNSC.
- Starting Dec. 18 and ending Jan. 11, tweet at @MLSNSC about why you would be perfect for a job in soccer and sales. Make sure you include the #MLSNSC hashtag.
Folks with tweets that gain the most RTs, favorites and replies will be considered for the next stage of the hiring process.
Good luck to the MLSNSC hopefuls out there, and tweet your little heart away!
In a recent post on MLSsoccer.com, editors chose D.C. United as a team primed for a deeper playoff run in 2013, saying that with the return of a healthy Dwayne De Rosario, United could be a, "real title contender."
Perhaps just as compelling as a healthy De Rosario is the wealth of young talent in the Black-and-Red core. With an average age of 25, United is among the most youthful squads in MLS. But in this case, youth does not equal inexperience. United's roster boasts the 2012 MLS All Star MVP, 2012 MLS Best XI selection and 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Chris Pontius (25) and three other Rookie of the Year finalists in just as many seasons: Nick DeLeon (22), emerging center midfield star Perry Kitchen (20), and 2012 Olympian and homegrown standout Andy Najar (19), the 2010 Rookie of the Year. Additionally, starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid (22) - the first D.C. United Acadmey product to sign directly with the first team – led all MLS netminders in saves percentage (78.6%) and registered the third-best GAA (1.03) in 2012.
With its captain back to full form and a young roster, who turned more than a few heads in 2012, United is indeed set to contend for the Cup in 2013.
With the announcement of new ownership in July of this year, D.C. United made a pledge to become a more global brand. As the year wound down, that commitment was evident.
D.C. United had reached new heights on and off the field. The team boasted the best home record in the league, and a return to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Off the field, D.C. United touched the lives of thousands of children through their community outreach efforts and through various camp programs.
But D.C. United's reach went far beyond their community and home fan base. The club saw growth in worldwide interest of the team. Fans emerged from 47 of the 50 states and 15 different countries to purchase gear from the Team Store, including an order that was shipped to the North Pole. North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were the only states who did not receive shipments from D.C. United this year. Dwayne De Rosario jerseys were a hot item in Canada, but team merchandise was also shipped to a handful of European countries, China, Japan, and Australia.
With 2013 upon us, and a new season on the horizon, United reaches even further. Join us. Rise together.
From around the globe, D.C. United players reflect on 2012 and look forward to 2013.
Happy NY. Thanks to all of you who have supported & may 2013 be filled with health & strength...
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) January 1, 2013
Haappy New Year to Everyone!! Let's try n make the world a better place, starting w ourselves!! #Peace&Love
— Brandon McDonald (@BMcDonald4) January 1, 2013
Happy 2013!!! God Bless Everyone...Feliz 2013!! Deus abençoe a todos ... Grande bjao@ Balneario Camboriu instagr.am/p/T6x6fQvsWy/
—M.Saragosa (@MarceloSaragosa) December 31, 2012
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) December 31, 2012
Despite his teammates not naming him the "Best at FIFA" in this year's superlatives, Bill Hamid is one of D.C. United's FIFA enthusiasts. Recently he sat down with ESPN to talk about his playing style and how being a professional soccer player has helped him become better at the video game.
"You know at certain points when to cross when you see runners going. You know when to bring the keeper out when there’s a breakaway. Being a pro soccer player, you figure those things out easier," explained Hamid. Read the full article on ESPN now.
Yesterday, MLS and adidas unveiled the new official match ball for 2013. The adidas PRIME features a few updates from it's 2012 version, including a slightly new look and upgraded technology.
The updates make the PRIME more water resistant and increasingly more aerodynamic with a cutting-edge panel bonding technique. The ball features a matte finish with slight texture to help with ball control, while changes to the bladder help prevent air and shape loss across all weather conditions.
The PRIME keeps it's traditional MLS colors of green, blue and white, while it also still features the signature of League Commissioner Don Garber. The design change is in the shapes, which were changed to emulate the handles of the Philip F. Anschutz trophy.
D.C. United faces Houston on March 2, 2013 marking their first match with the new ball.
With the holidays upon us, D.C. United players share their travel and celebration plans with fans via Twitter.
Chris Pontius heads back home.
Last day in DC before I head back to Cali for the holidays. Busy busy busy
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) December 20, 2012
Dwayne De Rosario is looking for the best place to celebrate the New Year. Any suggestions?
Best New Years party destination???
— Dwayne De Rosario (@dwaynederosario) December 19, 2012
Dejan Jakovic spends time with family.
It's always nice to be back home with the fam
— Dejan Jakovic (@DejanJakovic) December 20, 2012
Marcelo Saragosa finds time to enjoy a poolside vacation.