D.C. United have signed U.S. Under-17 captain and academy product Chris Durkin as the youngest Homegrown Player in club history. The 16-year-old defender and midfielder from Glen Allen, Virginia, becomes the eighth homegrown player in D.C. United history and the fifth-youngest homegrown signing in the history of the league (16 years, 127 days).
“We are excited that Chris will begin his professional career with us,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and VP of soccer operations, said. “His maturity, ambition and understanding of the game are unparalleled for a player of his age. Under the leadership of Academy Director Nolan Sheldon, Chris rapidly excelled in each of his five years in our Academy and was integrated into first team trainings and friendlies for the past year. Congratulations to Chris on this special day, and to his family for their unwavering commitment to Chris."
Durkin, who will wear the number 21 shirt, previously trained full-time with the first team last fall and during preseason camp in Bradenton, Florida, in January.
“Chris has been an exceptional talent since he joined the academy in 2011,” Sheldon said. “We are thrilled that he has decided to start his career at D.C. United and are excited to see continued development and growth."
The player’s impressive form earned him an invitation to U.S. Soccer’s residency program at IMG Academy in Bradenton in January 2016. Durkin solidified himself as a mainstay in the national team setup both in defense and central midfield. Durkin has also represented the Richmond Kickers and Richmond United at the youth level.
Most recently, Durkin traveled to India with the U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team to compete in the 2016 AIFF (All Indian Football Federation) Cup. The 16-year-old played in four of the five fixtures, helping guide the team to the finals where they fell 2-1 to the South Korean National Team in extra time.
Durkin will train with United throughout the summer and return to Bradenton full-time in August to continue his residency and resume playing with the youth national team in preparation for the U-17 FIFA World Cup, held in the fall of 2017. He will join United following the U-17 World Cup next year.
Durkin will debut as a starter against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on June 15 in United's first U.S. Open Cup game of 2016.
Full Name: Christopher Durkin
Birthplace: Hampton, VA
Height: 6’ 0”
Transaction: D.C. United sign Chris Durkin as a Homegrown Player on June 14, 2016.