17-year-old impressed D.C.'s first-teamers during recent training stint
Colin Martin playing with D.C. United Reserves
Equal parts excited and anxious, Collin Martin sat alone at a corner locker in D.C. United’s busy dressing room last week. For the first few days, the latest academy product to be called up to first team training kept to himself - until the Black-and-Red’s captain broke the ice.
Equal parts excited and anxious, Collin Martin sat alone ata corner locker in D.C. United’s busy dressing room last week. For the first few days, the latest academyproduct to be called up to first team training kept to himself - until the Black-and-Red’scaptain broke the ice.
“Dwayne [De Rosario] came up and told me to hang out withthe guys,” Martin said this week, recounting his recent training stint withD.C.’s senior group. “They’ve beenreally welcoming and I felt like part of the team, which has been great. Now, I feel comfortable and all I have toworry about is playing.”
The opening interaction was the first of many between Martinand a group that would both challenge and welcome him over the comingdays. Moments after a drill last week,Brandon McDonald didn’t hesitate to remind the 17-year-old about the value oflate possession following an ill-timed turnover. The next day, Ben Olsen and Chad Ashton spenttime after practice hitting balls to the native of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“When you aren’t playing with professionals you don’t thinkthat fast and you might not do all the right things,” Martin acknowledged thisweek. “But when you are playing withthese guys it forces you to think and really makes you a better player.”
The knowledge gained during his time in a professional environmentwill benefit Martin greatly in the immediate future. Before heading to ACC-powerWake Forestin the fall, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High Schoolproduct will travel to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland with the Under-20U.S. National Team.
The tournament, held in late July, will feature some of theworld’s top young talent and - after training with him for the past week - D.C.’splayers expect Martin to hold his own.
“You can see he has a lot of quality and a lot of upside,”said McDonald. “If you look at his play,he is ahead of his time. [The coachingstaff] put him out here for a reason and that is for us to help him.”
“These kids are the future of the club,” added De Rosario. “The more that we can get them to come up andexperience what it is like to practice with the first team, the more it createsa competitive environment in the youth ranks. Everyone will want to earn their chance.”