WASHINGTON – In are Luis Silva, Collin Martin and Jared Jeffrey. Out is Alain Rochat. And in one eventful week at the start of the international transfer window, D.C. United have injected new life into their otherwise floundering season.
Silva, acquired for allocation money from Toronto, is 24. Martin is 18 and the club’s sixth Homegrown player signing. Jeffrey, picked up in the waiver draft, is 23 and a former US youth international. All young and all American.
“It’s not across the board, but I think we want to continue building our base of quality young Americans,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “We’re always going to have foreigners on this team and they’re always going to help us, but we’re in a situation now where I think we need to build a base over the next year or two and really make sure we don’t have dips like we’ve had up to this point.
“Part of that is our depth, having reliable depth. Guys like Silva and Jeffrey will help us with that,” he added. “In essence, the American thing doesn’t have too much stock in it, but it’s just [about getting] more reliable depth.”
United will have a chance to showcase their new, young talent Friday when CD Guadalajara visit RFK Stadium for an international friendly (8 pm ET, ESPN2). Homegrown 17-year-old Jamaican forward Michael Seaton also could see his first minutes with the first team when United take on the Mexican side.
“Right about this time, you’re going to see movement everywhere,” Olsen said of D.C.’s busy week. “It’s not just foreigners. Now people in the league are willing to do some things. We’ve been looking to make some moves for a while, but it’s not that easy in this league. Around this time, some teams have different priorities and different agendas.”
With the influx of three players under 25, United now boast quite the collection of young American talent: Jeffrey, Martin, Silva, Nick DeLeon, Bill Hamid, Taylor Kemp, Perry Kitchen, Chris Korb, Conor Shanosky, Casey Townsend and Ethan White. Eight among that group have represented the US at the youth or senior international level. Midfielder Chris Pontius is also only 26, and one of what are now 17 American players on United’s roster.
“These guys are very good and we’re going to move forward from here,” Silva said. “Hopefully I can help them as much as I can to get back on track.”
Nick Cammarota covers D.C. United for MLSsoccer.com.