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Starter or not, McTavish ready to lead at DC

Versatile veteran focused on helping United into playoffs in 2011

After going through an extreme roster makeover this offseason, it seems as though D.C. United have more new faces than those returning from previous seasons.

Devon McTavish is one of those holdovers from 2010. The unheralded, versatile player enters his sixth season in DC and is looking to further cement his role in a changing squad.

However, for the duration of his D.C. United career, McTavish has primarily been known as a reserve player, and time will tell if that is the same way he fits in with this year’s team.

“Of course I want to be a starter, that’s obviously my goal,” McTavish said, "but I think more importantly is actually getting the team back to where it belongs: making the playoffs."

His ability to play just about anywhere on the field – he’s played at every position except forward in his five-year career – means that he’s an important commodity for United’s roster.

McTavish also boasts significant experience at a high level – he’s made 83 appearances in league, US Open Cup and CONCACAF play, logging more than 6,000 minutes in his career. He spent time last year playing in central defense and as a right back when United was hit with injury difficulties.

“You’re always just trying to help the team,” he said. “For me, I think it’s important for me to want to stay healthy and add some depth. I don’t think I’ve ever been considered a starter on this team, throughout the years injuries have happened and I’ve gotten on the field."

McTavish is also in another unique group. He’s one of 10 current United players who have also been a teammate of Ben Olsen's during the head coach's playing days.

“He approaches coaching the way he approached the game as a player,” McTavish said of Olsen. “I think he’s the same guy – the fight and desire you saw on the field, he has the same tenacity as a coach. If you’re not going a good job he’s going to tell you just like he did as a player.”

Given the current outlook of DC’s roster, McTavish’s five years of MLS experience ranks among the more veteran contingent of the group. And despite being just 26, he’s realized that he might have to play a more vocal role with guys who could see time ahead of him.

“It is something I kind of realized in the offseason that I’m probably going to be relied upon just to give support to some guys who are maybe playing ahead of me," he said, "just to give them pointers and things I’ve learned along the way.”

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