D.C. United signed US Under-17 national team captain and academy product Chris Durkin to a Homegrown contract on Tuesday, the club announced.
The 16-year-old defender from Glen Allen, Virginia is the eighth Homegrown player in United history and the fifth-youngest Homegrown signing in the history of MLS. His signing was first reported by The Washington Post’s Steve Goff.
“We are excited that Chris will begin his professional career with us,” United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement released by the club. “His maturity, ambition and understanding of the game are unparalleled for a player of his age. Under the leadership of academy director Nolan Sheldon, Chris rapidly excelled in each of his five years in our academy and was integrated into first-team trainings and friendlies for the past year.”
D.C. also announced that Durkin will start the club’s US Open Cup match against the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday.
Durkin trained with the D.C. first team last fall and during preseason camp in Bradenton, Florida, this January. He’s been in the US U-17 residency program in Bradenton since January, where he’s been preparing for next year’s U-17 World Cup.
He’ll train with United through the summer but will return to Bradenton full time in August to continue his work with the U-17s. He’ll return to United following the completion of the U-17 World Cup in October 2017.