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.
Jeff the Turtle
When it comes to pets, most people go with traditional household animals like cats and dogs. Donovan Pines isn’t most people. In middle school, Donovan received a special gift from his sister Kalala in the form of a pet turtle named Jeff. Since then, it’s safe to say Jeff the turtle and Donny have become inseparable best friends. The unorthodox pairing of a 6-foot-5 center back and a tiny turtle could make for a great Netflix show. Outside of soccer, the defender's passion has always been biology, so it's only fitting for him to have one of the oldest animal species as a pet.
ICYMI: Donovan Pines has a turtle named Jeff, and he's doing great. pic.twitter.com/XpBNFGlfop— dcunited (@dcunited) April 6, 2020
History as a Terp
When speaking about the Pines family, one has to mention the University of Maryland. Choosing a college is a difficult decision, but for Donovan and his sister Kalala it was easy, they were always going to be Terps. Donovan’s father, Darryll Pines has been involved with the University of Maryland both as a professor and as a dean for over 25 years. From a young age, Donovan attended his father's lectures at College Park, often interrupting to offer some of his own unique perspectives. Earlier this year Dr. Pines was appointed as the new president of the historic university, further cementing the Pines family legacy at the University of Maryland.
"I'm your valentine," said Dr. Darryll Pines as he spoke of his love for the University of Maryland, where he has served for 25 years. Chancellor @JayPerman, @presidentloh & the Board of Regents congratulated him on being named the next president of @UofMaryland. pic.twitter.com/7nDwsAFCau— University System of Maryland (@Univ_System_MD) February 14, 2020
College Teammates with Odoi-Atsem
While playing for the University of Maryland, Pines was able to establish an on-the-field connection with one of his future D.C. United teammates. Chris Odoi-Atsem was preparing for the final season of his collegiate career, when he was joined in preseason by an incoming 18-year-old center back. Pines and Odoi-Atsem played one season together for the Terps in 2016, forming one of the stingiest defenses in the NCAA and winning a Big Ten Championship. With Odoi-Atsem getting drafted by United in 2017, Pines followed the footsteps of his college teammate and rejoined him with the Black-and-Red as a Homegrown in 2019.
The Secret to the Waves
Many people wonder how Donovan keeps the perfect waves constantly flowing through his hair. We are here to let you in on a little secret. The key to keeping the waves so fresh for Donovan is wearing his durag on a daily basis. Some people wear durags as a fashion statement, but for Donovan it’s purely cosmetic. The 22-year old knows the effect that his waves can have on a person, even going as far as saying, “It makes you sea sick because I’m so wavy.” While the quarantine may be preventing Donovan from going to a barber, you can rest easy knowing that he is keeping his waves in check.
Eddie Pope the Mentor
Growing up as a soccer fan in the DMV area, it’s impossible not to know who Eddie Pope is. Pope was a role model for many players, but especially for a young center back coming through the D.C. United Academy like Donovan. While going through the process of choosing an agency, it was important for Donovan to have representation that understood his particular situation. Luckily for him, a D.C. United legend and one of his idols growing up was beginning his new career at the Octagon sports agency which immediately attracted Donovan’s attention. Having Pope in his corner has worked wonders for his career as he constantly turns to him for advice on how to improve himself both on and off the field.