Seven D.C. United Academy alums featured in the Maryland v. Wake Forest matchup on Saturday, Oct. 19 in College Park, Md. This Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rivalry has always been a heated battle in which everyone is familiar with one another. For seven of those players, it’s not just familiarity, but a brotherhood. Four DCU alums, Mikias Eticha, Suli Dainkeh, Cody Niedermeier and Michale Sauers play for Maryland and three, Rafael Fagundo, Ian Harkes and Jalen Robinson play for Wake Forest.
These seven standouts used to spend a lot of time together practicing, traveling and playing on D.C. United’s Developmental Academy teams only a few short years or even months ago. The score ended 4-3 in favor of Wake, but there were still handshakes and genuine smiles after the game. Every player mentioned how awesome it is to see each other progress as players and to compete on such a high level.
“D.C. United definitely prepared me to play in big ACC matchups like tonight,” Robinson said. “Getting to play against 11 other players that eventually went on to DI colleges, the (MLS) reserves and the first team helped me gain a competitive drive and the technical skill to get me where I am today.”
When asked to give advice to current D.C. United Academy players, all seven had similar messages. Sauers said, “I know its cliché, but always go after your dream. We’re all out here pursuing our dreams and still working on others. Work hard and put in the time, and you’ll get there.” D.C. United Academy not only produces topnotch talent, it also produces a brotherhood of soccer players. Robinson said, “You know, we all could be back playing together somewhere down the line.”