D.C. United announced today that the club has signed 19-year old Academy product Ethan White. White becomes the fourth player signed to the first team from the Academy Team. Bill Hamid, Conor Shanosky and 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar were the previous three signees.
White moved on from the Academy team to the University of Maryland where he started 43 matches in central defense for the Terrapins. Because the central defender was in United’s academy, the club had the option to sign him straight to the first team and not subject him to the MLS SuperDraft. If United had passed on signing White, he would have most likely gone in the first round according to some scouts who have seen him play over the past two years.
The 6-foot 183 pound native of Kensington, Maryland is a very good signing for United as they look to improve their club from a league-worst position last season. United has precious little depth in central defense and getting White will go a long way towards improving the position from last year. With United having the #3 pick in the upcoming SuperDraft on January 13th at the Baltimore Convention Center, they will essentially be getting two first-round picks.
Couple that with the selections and contributions of Najar and Hamid to date, United seems ahead of the league in terms of cultivating local talent and taking advantage of MLS’ ever-widening rules concerening homegrown players. While the SuperDraft is still important in building and replacing depth on your team, the Academies will be looked upon as perhaps an even better resource to gaining potential professional players who impact games in the future.