Kevin Paredes says emotional farewell to DC United: "You guys are family"

Kevin Paredes is Germany-bound after D.C. United completed a club-record transfer of the defender to Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg, as announced Friday.

But before the homegrown player departed, Paredes bid farewell to his boyhood club in an emotional address.

“I’ve been in love with this club ever since I was five,” said a teary-eyed Paredes. “This place has really been home for me.”

D.C. United head coach Hernan Losada said he felt it was important to give Paredes a proper send-off.

“It’s been an amazing year and I think part of this transfer is thanks to all of you,” Losada said. “So, very excited with this new chapter in your life. I just want to thank you in the name of the whole group.”

The 18-year-old signed as D.C. United's 14th homegrown player in January 2020. He went from their academy ranks to reserve side Loudoun United FC before recording three goals and two assists across 41 MLS games (28 starts).

Paredes impressed during his two MLS seasons, so much that he's joined Wolfsburg via a $7.35 million transfer. D.C. United will receive additional performance-based add-ons and a sell-on fee on any future transfer.

He’s the latest young American to compete in the Bundesliga, but Paredes makes the move with a heavy heart.

“You guys are family,” Paredes said. “I’m never going to forget you guys, never going to forget this club.”

To help replace Paredes, D.C. United acquired Australian international left back Brad Smith via trade this week. They sent Seattle Sounders FC $750,000 in General Allocation Money for the 27-year-old.