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D.C. United goalkeepers Joe Willis and Andrew Dykstra travel to England for training stints

Willis heads to Sunderland AFC, while Dykstra will be with Hartlepool United FC

Departing today, D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis will be training with English Premier League side Sunderland AFC for a little under 10 days, while fellow United netminder Andrew Dykstra will train with Hartlepool United FC of England’s League One.

Throughout the 2012 campaign with the Black-and-Red, Willis appeared 11 times (10 starts), logging close to 1,000 minutes and posting two shutouts. The 24-year-old University of Denver graduate has previously trained abroad with Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Cardiff City.

“[D.C. United goalkeeper coach] Pat [Onstad] asked me if I wanted to do it, and I told him, ‘Absolutely,’ said Willis. “Anytime you have an opportunity to train with a Premier League team, you’re not really going to pass it up.”

“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,” Willis added.

Dykstra, 27, spent much of the 2012 MLS season on loan with USL PRO side Charleston Battery, where he led the team to a championship. The Virginia Commonwealth University alum and Woodbridge, Va., native played in 23 games (23 starts) for the Battery, recording a 12-6-2 record and 11 shutouts with an impressive 1.03 GAA.