D.C. United finished their first leg of the 2020 preseason in Clearwater, Fla., with a 1-0 win over USL Championship side Louisville City FC. After neither team were able to find the back of the net in the first half, the Black-and-Red opened the scoring in the 70th minute through Loudoun United’s Michael Gamble. With new faces participating in their first preseason with the Black-and-Red, the coaching staff was able to hand opportunities to players outside of the first team. A trio of academy products who recently signed their first professional contracts stood out in the match against Louisville.
Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow were all given the chance to showcase their talents and they impressed with their ability to perform under pressure. Nyeman was the first to enter the game as he replaced Júnior Moreno in the 33rd minute. The 16-year-old looked lively as he was able to get forward from his midfield position and win a penalty for United, though Arriola’s effort was saved. Paredes and Yow came on for the final half hour and both performed well. Paredes who has missed a majority of the preseason through injury was finally able to compete in his first senior match. Yow created a few chances for the Black-and-Red and then in the 70th minute he started the passing sequence which led to the goal. Yow placed a pass to pick out Boateng in the box and Boateng then set up Gamble for United’s only goal. After the match, Head Coach Ben Olsen was impressed with the teenagers performances.
“This camp is a lot for young kids. Especially when you are just turning pro,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said. “The intensity of these two weeks, the amount of training sessions, and the amount of classroom sessions… they’re not used to that. You see them kind of fade in and out during their first preseason, but I thought they really ended on a high note. It was nice to see Kevin out here for the first time. I thought he showed really well, Griffin had some good moments, and Moses got a little bit of time in the first half with that first team. He plays much more mature than his age suggests.”
D.C. United has a history of producing Homegrown Players such as Andy Najar or Bill Hamid, and these three are just the latest to rise through the academy and make the jump to the first team. With promising futures ahead of them, the Black-and-Red can continue to rely on their youth system to identify local talent and prepare them for first team action.