D.C. United on Monday announced that the club has signed 19-year-old Academy product and former Wake Forest player Jalen Robinson. The defender is the seventh Homegrown player in United’s history, joining 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar, goalkeeper and US international Bill Hamid, defenders Conor Shanosky and Ethan White, forward Michael Seaton and midfielder Collin Martin.
“Jalen is one of the most athletic players in all of college soccer who can play center back or right back,” said D.C. United GM Dave Kasper in a statement. “He is very composed on the ball as he looks to play out of the back, and he also excels at one on one defending.”
“Jalen is a modern defender,” added D.C. United director of youth development Sonny Silooy. “He is physical, fast and a smart soccer player that can play in different positions on the back line. We are excited to see another Academy player sign with our first team.”
A native of Catonsville, Md., Robinson first broke onto the scene for United’s U-16s during the 2009-2010 U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season. In his first campaign, the defender was named to the USSDA Starting XI, Eastern Conference Starting XI and participated in the Academy Select Game at the Developmental Academy Winter Showcase. During the 2010-2011 season, his last with the U-16s, the defender was once again named to the Eastern Conference Starting XI before he joined the U-18 squad for his last two seasons.
Robinson then went on to feature for Wake Forest University in 2012 alongside fellow Homegrown and current D.C. United player, Collin Martin. The young defender logged 1,634 minutes in his first season, appearing in 18 games (17 starts) while recording two goals and one assist. For his efforts in 2012, he was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team, All-ACC Academic Team, TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Freshman First Team and Second Team All-South Region.
In his sophomore season, he started all 19 games he appeared in, logging 1,786 minutes, and scored one goal while being named 2012 Second Team All-ACC and Second Team All-South Region.
Robinson has also represented the United States at the U-15, U-17, U-18 and U-20 level. During his tenure with the U-18 national team, the defender was the youngest player on the squad that traveled to the 2011 Milk Cup and scored the goal that helped the US to a third-place finish.