D.C. United's only pick in the 2010 SuperDraft was fourth-rounder Jordan Graye, a product of the University of North Carolina and D.C. United's Academy system. We caught up with the defender to ask him about his excitement in staying in DC, winning titles with United's U-14 side, and where he most likes to play on the field.
Q: Jordan, where were you when your name was called during the 2010 MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia?
Graye: I was actually in Chapel Hill editing my highlight tape for UNC. At the same time I was watching the draft in my coach’s office.
Q: What did it feel like being drafted by your hometown club?
Graye: It was awesome. I was told earlier that if I was available at the end of the day D.C. United would select me, but to be honest they weren’t sure if I would fall that far. I remember when it started getting to the later rounds I thought, gosh, it would be crazy to be at home with my family playing for my hometown club – so I was definitely excited.
Q: You had a stellar career at DeMatha High School here in D.C., how does your family feel about you beginning your MLS career in Washington?
Graye: They are really happy for me, because they knew that this [D.C.] would be the only place that they would be able to go to the games. My mom and my friends called me after the draft and were chanting “D.C. United”, so they were clearly excited about having the opportunity to come see me play at home.
Q: You are a D.C. United youth product, having played with the organization at the U-14, U-15, U-16, and U-20 levels. How did that experience affect your professional development?
Graye: I thought it was a really good experience. Our youth teams were really the first MLS endorsed Super-Y League teams. I guess in some ways we were the first MLS youth club, so it was amazing to be around other talented guys and win a national championship the first year they [the Super Y-League] had it. We had successful teams with talented players, many of those guys went on to top college programs around the country, and now many are playing professionally.
Q: What do you think about the current United U-16 team that is heading to South Africa to compete in the 2010 Gauteng Future Championships?
Graye: It’s awesome! It really is amazing to see how the youth system is developing, because when I was playing we were not going to Europe or Africa. Now these kids train four times a week, so it is definitely different now and I am impressed – the system is changing for the better.
Q: You won the Super Y-League national title with United’s U-14 side in 2001, what do you remember about that experience?
Graye: I remember that we were playing really well. That season we destroyed many of the teams we faced, but I remember getting injured in the semifinal and I was unsure if I would be play in the final. But I ended up starting and playing well, actually I let a goal in but scored later in the match to redeem myself against Atlanta – so overall it was great to win 3-2 in the final.
Q: At North Carolina you played all over the backline, what do you think is your best position?
Graye: Oh man [laughs], that’s a tough question. I guess my best position is dependent upon the personnel that are on the field, but if I had to pick one spot it would be fullback. Either right or left, as an outside defender I can use all of the skills that I have acquired. Even though I am a defender, I like to get forward and assist the attack, so playing fullback gives you the best of both worlds.
Q: What can United fans expect to see out of you in 2010?
Graye: I think the fans can expect a solid performer with a little bit of flair, but overall they will see someone that plays shutdown defense.