Although D.C. United’s attention is mostly focused on the MLS Combine and SuperDraft this week, the club is still working in the background to acquire a few players through alternate avenues.
Members of the coaching staff were abroad at the end of last year in different continents, and the fruits of those scouting trips yielded a handful of targets the club continues to pursue.
“[We’re] still trying to negotiate particulars and things of that nature,” assistant coach Chad Ashton told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s always a lot of hoops and a lot of red tape you have to get through, and so we’re working on that. I think we’re getting closer all the time and hopefully we’ll have some announcements soon.”
With 18 players currently under contract, D.C. are hoping to improve in all areas of the field through both the draft and international player market. The number of signings that will actually materialize is far from certain at this point, but should be sorted out in the coming weeks.
“It depends on how things work out,” Ashton said. “One deal can affect another deal, so I probably can’t really touch on how many guys it is at this point.”
If any of the current negotiations breakdown, the team does have other plans lined up.
“You have to also have a plan A and then have backup plans because it never goes the way you think it’s going to go or hope it’s going to go,” Ashton said.
Players report for preseason on Jan. 15, and Ashton said that the current plan is to bring a roster of about 30 players to the first preseason trip in Sarasota, Fla., scheduled to start a week later.
Along with the current 18 players on the roster, midfielder Austin da Luz and defender Jed Zayner will also be with the team as they attempt to earn a roster spot for the upcoming season.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.