WASHINGTON – Despite training on the pitch nearby RFK Stadium on a number of occasions prior to Wednesday, D.C. United’s newest Homegrown player felt a bit different stepping on the field on this particular humid July afternoon.
“I was nervous for some reason even though the last two weeks I was just coming in and doing my job,” said newly signed midfielder Collin Martin. “But it’s a happy nervous. I’m just coming in and doing my job so I can start focusing on my future. I’m still young, so I have a long way to go, but I’m excited to get started here.”
The 18-year-old Martin played last season at Wake Forest University and played high school soccer at Bethesda-Chevy Chase, the alma mater of another of D.C.’s Homegrown players, Ethan White.
“Ever since I was coming up with the U-16s, I’ve always wanted to play with this club,” Martin said. “It’s a great club and I’ve followed them since I was a little kid, so it means a lot to be a part of such a good group of Homegrown players.”
Martin, a highly-skilled midfielder, has been called up to represent the US at the U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels, and United coach Ben Olsen said his newest player is available for selection ahead of Friday’s international friendly against CD Guadalajara (8 pm ET, RFK Stadium).
Martin is the sixth Homegrown player in United’s history, joining White, Andy Najar, Bill Hamid, Michael Seaton and Conor Shanosky. Olsen said Martin could potentially join the Richmond Kickers on loan, but because it’s late in their season it’s something the club will discuss with Kickers coach Leigh Cowlishaw.
“We’re looking to have guys continue to graduate from our academy and work their way up to seeing time with the full team,” Olsen said. “He’s got the talent, he seems to have a good mindset about it and we’ll see. I can’t tell you in a year or two years he’s going to be starting, but he’s certainly a guy we believe in and we’re looking forward to developing into something that can help us.”
Also joining United for the first time Wednesday were midfielders Luis Silva and Jared Jeffery. Silva was acquired from Toronto FC for allocations money while the 23-year-old Jeffery was selected by the club in last week’s waiver draft after most recently playing for German side Mainz of the Bundesliga.
“I’ve been kind of anxious to get started the last couple of weeks and finally getting settled and going to D.C.,” said Jeffery, who admitted he needs to regain his fitness. “I wanted to come back to MLS in the last month or so and I’m excited to get here.
“I knew some of the guys previously and there’s a lot of talented players here, so I’m looking forward to learning from Ben Olsen, who was a midfielder just like me. I think it’s kind of an ideal situation learning from a guy like that.”
Silva and Jeffery also will be available for selection Friday.