While supporters are fully aware of the D.C. United players’ personalities that define them on the pitch, it’s important to get to know who they are when they aren’t playing. The five facts feature will take a deep dive into player’s hobbies, interests and quirks as we look to give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what makes our players tick.
Speaks fluent German
At 15-years-old, Canouse traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and learned the tricks of the trade in Germany with the TSG Hoffenheim academy. Canouse quickly immersed himself in the culture and saw an immediate value in learning the native dialect. After spending a bulk of his teenage years in Germany, the midfielder picked up the language and now uses it as a tool to build relationships with other German-speakers on the team. With the arrival of Gressel in the offseason, I’m sure both players appreciated having someone to talk German with in the locker room and on the pitch. So you can guarantee that any on-field tactics discussions between the two will be in German to ensure the other team aren’t eavesdropping.
Life long friends with Paul Arriola
We’re all aware of the bromance between Russell and Paul Arriola. The two are a dynamic duo on the field and inseparable friends off it. The two grew up together in the U.S. Youth National Team setup and first played with each other in the U-18 side in 2013. With Russell heading to Germany and Paul heading south to Mexico to kickstart their professional careers, a divine twist of fate brought the two back together in the nation’s capital in summer 2017. With neither player aware that the other was signing with United, it was a welcomed surprise to see a familiar face as they acclimated to a new city.
You’d think that a player who works as hard as Russell does in the midfield would take a breather after 90 minutes. Not the case and Russell’s engine keeps on turning when he’s done with soccer for the day. He’s constantly finding innovative ways to expand his platform and learning new skills to better himself. Canouse encapsulates the entrepreneurial spirit and has ventured into various business platforms to expand his portfolio. When he’s not tackling opposition, you can count on Russell to be reading up on stock ventures and tending to his Amazon business in his down time.
Russell's High School Sweetheart
Russell is a tough tackler and a keen businessman but he's also got a romantic side! Despite leaving for Europe at such a young age, Russell still ended up marrying his high school sweetheart, Erika, from Lancaster, Pa. Everyone's heard of shooting your shot, Russell's wife, Erika, encapsulated that spirit when she invited Russell to her graduation party. While he was overseas in Germany, Russell and Erika maintained their long distance relationship until he moved to DC in 2017. The pair then got married in 2018 and added Lola the French Bulldog to their family!
Played with Firmino and Sule
Canouse had the opportunity to play with world-class talents throughout his playing career, however two names come to mind from his time in Germany. During his spell with TSG Hoffenheim, Canouse had the pleasure of sharing the locker room with two future stars in Roberto Firmino and Niklas Sule. The trio have all gone on to have successful careers with Firmino currently leading the frontline for Liverpool, Sule manning the heart of defense for Bayern Munich and Canouse keeping the engine ticking in the middle of the park for the Black-and-Red. Surely Canouse learned a few tricks in training from the Brazilian striker, while playing with Sule may have eased his seemingly effortless transition to right back last season.