What does it mean to sign a Homegrown contract with your boyhood club, D.C. United?
“It means a lot to me. Being from the area, I watched D.C. United growing up, and once I got into the academy, I started going to games more because it was easier to access. It was a great experience for me just to go to games with my family, friends, and girlfriend. This time, I’m going to be the one playing, so I won't be in the stands with them. Now, they finally get to enjoy me on the field. I honestly can't wait to show the fans what I can do. I'm just really excited to get started.”
How has the path from the D.C. United Academy to Loudoun prepared you for this next step?
“I would say that it was perfect for me. Even though I am one of the later Homegrowns to come up, and I'm a year older than some of the other guys, the step up from Academy to Loudoun to MLS was perfect—I was at Loudoun for two years, I think longer than anybody else.”
“I think it was the ideal way for me to develop as a player and as a person, especially with the injury I had back in 2020 and the COVID season. It helped shift my game mentally, and I got a lot of games under my belt, didn’t have any injuries, and played a ton of minutes last year. Honestly, I played the best football I've played so far. It was just really good to get some confidence under my belt and get some experience for a young 19-year-old.”
What are you most looking forward to about joining D.C United’s first team?
“My goal was to play first-team football. That was the goal beforehand when I was playing at Loudoun. Now that I'm here, it's just to keep performing. It's exciting to see my Academy teammates again, play with amazing players—big-name players—and be under such a good coach with a very unique philosophy. But, I think what I'm most excited about is playing in front of the fans. I've walked around the stadium and have seen how much they care about the club and how much they cheer, especially in the supporters’ section. Those guys go crazy! So it's going to be amazing just playing for the people that care so much about the club.”
Has anything changed for you since achieving your goal of signing a contract with the first team?
“Yeah, I would say when I first got it, I had to take some time to think about all of it. Once I hit my goal, I had to reevaluate what I was thinking and everything that was going on. Obviously, once you reach your goal, you have to set new ones and aim higher and higher. It really messed with me because I almost felt like I had made it, but in no way, at all, have I made it yet. I want to play. I want to score goals, win, and assist. I want to do all these things. And now, I'm back to where I should be.”
Is there something you have implemented or plan on implementing into your training to help you take your game to that next level?
“Yeah, I would say three things. First, I would say little training sessions on my own, or even if a coach would come and help me with technical things. It could be shooting after training or doing a dribble sequence before every single game. That was just my routine to get mentally ready for the game. I would say little things like that every day and my passion going into it. I don't think you guys have seen it yet. Right now, I seem pretty chill and calm, but I promise you I will not be like that at all. Secondly, I would say the mental side of the game, especially in 2020, during the COVID season, we had these guest speakers that my coach from Loudoun—Ryan Martin—brought to talk about how they view the sport. There were many coaches, varying from one that coached Maradona to NBA coaches or college soccer coaches. It was a lot of good experiences during that year to help me shift my thinking into how I should approach the game. And then, thirdly, I would just say how I looked at the game and how consistent I had to be. Because, to me, I was playing well during last season, and then I had a little bit of a drop-off. That didn't scare me, but it made me want to keep going. I realized how important consistency is in this game because nobody cares what you did yesterday; they only care about what you do today.”
How would you describe your style of play?
“I would like to say I am elegant in the way I play, but I also work my tail off. Like, if I want to score a goal and I hit the post in the 90th minute, I won't sit and cry about missing, I will sprint back and tackle the player. So, I would like to say something between Mesut Özil and Sergio Ramos.”
What can we expect from Ted Ku-DiPietro?
“I would say, expect the most. Honestly, I'm going to give everything to this club. I'm going to work every single day. I will not take days off; I promise you that. I will always be thinking about the game because it’s 100% my focus. Nothing else tops it. So I'll give everything for the club and want people to expect the most from me.”