As you learned last week, D.C. United is one of three MLS teams to qualify for the league’s new policy which allows teams to sign players directly from their own youth development programs. Don’t expect D.C. United to take advantage of that ability any time soon.
According to D.C. United technical director Dave Kasper, D.C. United will not be signing any players from its highly-regarded youth program in the immediate future.
"I don’t now if we’ll sign any youth players now," Kasper said. "It’s possible that we’ll look to do it during the middle part of the year. Right now there’s no one we’re ready to sign.
"There are players we feel have a lot potential but we want to make sure they’re really ready," Kasper said. "Right now we’re not prepared to select anybody in the program."
The D.C. United youth development program began in 2001 and currently consists of two year-round teams (U-16 and U-18), with 40 players coming from the Maryland-DC-Virginia area. Another 75 players in younger age groups are taking part in summer soccer programs with the club.
D.C. United, Chivas USA and the Red Bulls are the first three teams to have youth programs in place that qualified for the league’s new player development initiative that allows teams to sign their own youth academy players. All three teams had programs in place before the league announced the new policy after the 2006 season, which means all three have reached the two-year requirement for programs to qualify.