We're spending the first month or so of the D.C. United offseason grading each player on the roster with an approval rating. A vote for APPROVE means you were satisfied with the player's performance and want to see him back in D.C. next season. A vote for DISAPPROVE means you want United to move on without him. There is no middle ground, so please leave salary and contract implications out of your decision.
When D.C. United signed Ethan White to a homegrown contract after only his sophomore year in college, we thought he might be a nice addition for the future. Just like how we still think about Conor Shanosky now. As it turns out though, White's signing was more like that of Bill Hamid or Andy Najar, and less like that of Shanosky. White was ready to contribute almost from Day 1.
In his days at the University of Maryland, White stood out for his raw physical ability, strength, and unrealized skill. And yet I don't think anyone expected him to develop this quickly. What we saw from White in a United uniform was generally just as impressive - he, along with frequent central defensive partner Brandon McDonald, controlled the box in ways it hasn't been controlled by D.C. in years. Most of the time. But White also fell victim to the problem that has plagued D.C. defenses for years - the momentary loss of focus that can lead to goal-scoring opportunities, and often goals.
White is great in the air and good with his feet. He's even dangerous in front of the opponent's net as well, scoring one goal in 21 starts for United in 2011. Still though, I look forward to the day when the first positive trait I mention about White isn't his raw physical ability.