D.C. United have signed defender Andy Najar to a multi-year contract extension through 2023 with an option in 2024. Najar signed with the Black-and-Red on April 16, 2021.
“Andy has been an integral piece for us since returning to our club last season,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United President of Soccer Operations, said. “He is playing at a very high level and his intelligence and quality both on and off the ball are a big plus for us. We are extremely happy to sign him to a contract extension and secure his future for years to come. Andy is an exciting footballer and fan-favorite and we’re thrilled for him to be a big part of our goal of returning to the playoffs and bringing trophies back to the club.”
In 2021, Najar scored one goal and recorded three assists in 26 appearances (23 starts). In his reinvented role as a center back in Losada’s system, Najar created 16 chances and completed 55 dribbles last season. Notably, Najar recorded two assists in the 7-1 win against Toronto FC on July 3, 2021, at Audi Field. For his performances on the field, the 28-year-old earned four MLS Team of the Week selections last season (Week 8, 11, 18, and 28). In 2022, Najar started in the two opening wins for the Black-and-Red against Charlotte FC (Feb. 26) and FC Cincinnati (March 5). In five seasons with United (2010-2012, 2021-present), Najar has scored 11 goals and recorded 14 assists in 110 MLS Regular Season appearances (97 starts).
“Andy has showcased his specialized skill set in this reinvented role as a third center back,” Lucy Rushton, D.C. United General Manager, said. “His ability to read the game in front of him and step into space between the lines, gives us a unique ability to build our attack out of the back. We’re thrilled to secure Andy through 2023 and he will continue to be an exciting and impactful player for us on the field.”
Najar started his professional career when he signed a Generation Adidas contract for D.C. United at 17-years-old on March 22, 2010, after impressive performances for the D.C. United Academy. The defender quickly became one of the most promising young players in Major League Soccer after making his debut for the Black-and-Red as a halftime substitute against the Kansas City Wizards on March 27, 2010. He scored his first professional goal for the club on May 29, 2010, in a 3-2 win against Chivas USA at RFK Stadium. After scoring five goals and recording an assist in 26 appearances (22 starts) in his first season, Najar was selected as the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year. After an impressive breakout season, Najar went on to score 10 goals and record 12 assists in 87 appearances across all competitions in three seasons with the Black-and-Red.
Following Najar’s success at D.C. United, the young player garnered attention from elite clubs in Europe. On Jan. 17, 2013, Najar joined RSC Anderlecht on a one-month loan. After impressing in his initial loan, Najar was signed by Anderlecht on Jan. 30, 2013. The defender made his debut for the Belgian side as a substitute in the 4-0 win against Cercle Brugge on Aug. 2, 2013. Najar scored his first goal for the club against KV Mechelen on Jan. 19, 2014. Najar scored 14 goals and recorded 16 assists in 164 appearances across all competitions for Anderlecht from 2013 to 2020. Notably, the 28-year-old scored one goal in seven appearances in the UEFA Champions League. His goal came against Arsenal FC in the English Premier League on Oct. 22, 2014. In six seasons with Anderlecht, Najar won three league titles (2012-13, 2013-14, 2016-17), two Belgian Cups (2013, 2014) and was nominated as the Anderlecht Player of the Season twice (2015-16, 2016-17).
After Najar’s success in Belgium, the Honduran signed a one-year contract with Los Angeles Football Club on July 1, 2020, and rejoined Major League Soccer. In one season with LAFC, Najar recorded one assist in eight appearances in 2020. At the conclusion of the season, Najar was out of contract with LAFC and became a free agent.
Player: Andy Najar
Birthplace: Choluteca, Honduras
Transaction: D.C. United signed Andy Najar to a multi-year contract extension through 2023 with an option in 2024.