When D.C. United announced the signing of University of Maryland defender Ethan White under the homegrown rule, it marked a first for MLS.
This was the first time that a player who was groomed and trained in a club’s youth academy signed a contract after heading off to a top collegiate program.
The 19-year-old central defender is raw, but he’s an exciting prospect with an MLS-ready physique. After emerging as a standout with D.C. United’s U-18 side, he spent the last two seasons playing under head coach Sasho Cirovski at the University of Maryland.
“Ethan is gifted physically and that’s going to take him a long way,”
Cirovski told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s improved in the technical area and he’s also gotten better tactically. He’s become more mentally tough.”
That said, Cirovski indicated that there is still plenty of work for Ethan to put in to achieve success over the course of his MLS career.
“He’s still raw in the technical and tactical areas, and he knows that,” Cirovski said. “He knows there are still some deficiencies he needs to work on and get better, but he’s ready.”
In his two-year stint with the Terrapins, White was a fixture in the center of the defense. He started every single one of Maryland’s 23 games in 2009 and followed that up with a strong sophomore year, missing three games due to injury.
Next season, the Kensington, Md. native will suit up in the Black-and-Red, getting to train as a professional with his hometown club.
His talent and potential haven’t gone unnoticed by the US U-20 national team technical staff either. White was recently selected to take part in the U-20 camp that will be held at Florida in January and was a member of the Milk Cup-winning side in Northern Ireland this past summer.
Working closely with White over the last two seasons has left Cirovski convinced that United are getting a top talent with a huge upside.
“He’s got such tremendous potential,” said Cirovski. “We’ve seen it tapped at Maryland; he’s improved from year-to-year. I think the best is yet to come from Ethan White.”
That is something that won’t come without hard work and learning the game on a whole new level, something the defender is ready and willing to do.
“This is a young man that knows what he’s capable of, and he’s ready for that challenge,” Cirovski said. “DC will have to be patient with him and make sure they work with him – he’s all ears, and he’s very coachable and willing to learn.
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