As was the case with many players who were members of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft pool, former University of Maryland defender Taylor Kemp couldn’t put his finger on when he’d be selected, or which club would take him.
But as it turns out, the one team he really didn’t expect to pick him did just that.
“I didn’t know D.C. United had interest in me,” said Kemp, who was selected 17th overall. “I didn’t have an interview with them, but the interview wasn’t exactly necessary since I trained a bit with their first team last summer and they’ve seen me play probably more than any other team. Still, I had no idea.”
While Kemp wasn’t sure where he would end up, it seems as though United have targeted the left back for quite some time, and he’ll join a youthful team coming off its first trip to the playoffs in five years.
“We believe we took the best left back at the Combine,” United coach Ben Olsen said in a press release. “Taylor is a local kid and we have watched him for several years now and we are very excited to have him join us.”
A Colorado native, Kemp was named an NSCAA All-American, an All-State selection and team offensive and defensive MVP during his senior year of high school before becoming a mainstay in the Terrapins’ lineup in his four years in College Park.
“DCU is right in my backyard and I’ve watched a lot of games and I know their coaching staff a little bit, so I was really pleased with how everything worked out,” Kemp said. “D.C. was not a team I was thinking about right before the draft, but D.C. was a team that was on the top of my list for a long time because of location and the knowledge of the club and their knowledge of me.”
The 5-foot-11, 153-pound Kemp currently is training with the club in Bradenton, Fla., and hopes to become one of the many budding stars on United’s roster. Meaningful minutes on a team known in 2012 for giving plenty of opportunities to its youngsters is his goal.
“I know that as far as what I’ve seen and what other people have told me about Benny is that he’ll give opportunities to everybody,” Kemp said. “That’s something that gets a player like me coming into the league really excited because I know we all we have the opportunity to fight for minutes.”