Behind the Badge: Home grown

In continuing with D.C. United's spirit of giving back to the community, several members of the Black-and-Red pulled double duty in the hot Washington, D.C. sun on Tuesday. After completing a hard training session, Dave Kasper, Mark Simpson and players Brian Carroll, Brandon Prideaux, Doug Warren, Troy Perkins, David Stokes, Mike Petke, Kevin Ara, Ronald Cerritos and Joshua Gros took part in the inaugural United Community Builds day.

In partnership with D.C. Habitat for Humanity, the first-ever initiative for United's charitable arm, United for D.C., saw front office staff and players working alongside AmeriCorps volunteers and prospective homeowners to build resource-efficient houses, which are then sold at no profit via a no-interest mortgage.

There was no rest, as the players came directly from training and were immediately put to work framing the first and second floors of one of the houses at the 54th St. and Clay St. NE worksite. Eager to work, the players jumped in alongside the other volunteers, donating a little bit of sweat for the good cause.

While most of the players were a bit apprehensive, Carroll and Petke jumped right in. Carroll showed an impressive familiarity with the power tools, handling the chop saw with the practiced eye of an experienced framer.

Stokes, on the other hand, showed a more enthusiasm than experience. As he tried valiantly to nail a 2 x 4 into a header board, his form elicited howls of laughter from rookies Gros and Ara that quickly caught on around the small, unfinished living room.

With the help of members of the Black-and-Red, along with the good start made by the front office staff in the morning, the house went from a bare wooden area to ready for finish framing in a little less than two hours.

The build site is the largest in the history of D.C. Habitat for Humanity, with over 53 new homes to be built over the next several months.

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Several trialists joined United in training Tuesday. Making first appearances were Tim Lawson of SV Elversberg (Germany) and Alejandro Curbelo of Alianza (Peru) FC. Lawson, a 28-year-old midfielder from the United States, has played for Elversberg for four seasons, tallying a goal in each season. Curbelo, originally from Uruguay, most recently starred for his Salvadoran side as he tallied a penalty kick to give Alianza the torneo Clausura 2004 championship over Club Deportivo FAS. Also, continuing on trial were Nana Kuffour and Roland Aguilera.

John Roushkolb is a contributor to dcunited.com.


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