TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Extension
D.C. United have signed defender Andy Najar to a multi-year contract extension through 2023 with an option in 2024, the club announced Thursday.
Najar, 28, had a goal and three assists in 26 appearances during the 2021 season, giving him his most productive campaign since returning to MLS from Anderlecht in Belgium's Jupiler League after the 2018-19 season. He signed with LAFC in 2020, making eight appearances (one start) before rejoining D.C.
“Andy has been an integral piece for us since returning to our club last season,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United president of soccer operations, said in a release. “He is playing at a very high level and his intelligence and quality both on and off the ball are a big plus for us. We are extremely happy to sign him to a contract extension and secure his future for years to come."
Najar originally broke through the MLS ranks when he signed a Generation adidas contract from the club's academy in 2010. He is considered D.C.'s third Homegrown Player in club history and in 2010 became the first homegrown to win MLS Rookie of the Year.
After beginning his career as a winger, Najar eventually transitioned to right back, paving the way for his move to Anderlecht following the 2012 MLS season.
The 28-year-old might have remained at fullback if not for a pair of ACL tears suffered in 2016 and 2019, the latter of which effectively ended his time in the Jupiler Pro League. But he is now a right-sided center back in manager Hernan Losada's three-back system.
“Andy has showcased his specialized skill set in this reinvented role as a third center back,” Lucy Rushton, D.C. United general manager, said in a release. “His ability to read the game in front of him and step into space between the lines gives us a unique ability to build our attack out of the back. We’re thrilled to secure Andy through 2023 and he will continue to be an exciting and impactful player for us on the field.”
At the international level, the versatile defender has 27 caps with the Honduras national team and is currently part of their 2022 Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qualifying squad.