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.