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Ethan White Signs With D.C. United: What It Means

D.C. United announced today that the team has signed University of Maryland defender Ethan White to a homegrown player contract. White has been a member of United's Academy for years, playing alongside Bill Hamid and others.

I haven't seen much of White personally, but those in the media that have seen him have given him rave reviews. I haven't seen a single person say "Nah, that White kid has reached his peak." No, the verdict is clear that White is overflowing with potential, and may even be able to contribute right away. According to Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner, White stood out as one of the top performers on the field whenever he was invited to practice with United last season.

As has been discussed in the FanShot earlier this afternoon, White has great speed, stamina, and athleticism. He's also got international experience, playing as a member of the U.S. Soccer U-20 National Team that won the Milk Cup this summer. He started 20 games for Maryland as a center back, leading the backline to a team record 15 shutouts in 2010. And he was only a sophomore.

What does all this mean for D.C. United? Read on and I'll tell you.

First off, it basically means that United gets two first round draft picks for next season. Soccer By Ives and WV Hooligan each projected Ethan White as a first round selection. Because of the new homegrown player rules, United doesn't have to bother using a draft pick on White. And rightfully so, since the team has been working to groom White since he was 16. We've still got the third overall pick in the Superdraft, and with a young defender on board, we can now focus our targets solely on the offense.

Secondly, it means that United's Academy is continuing to pay dividends. The Academy has won the SUM U-17 Cup Championship in 2007, 2009, and 2010. We can expect more signings in the coming months and years as these kids continue to develop. United may not exactly lead the league in foreign talent evaluation anymore, but goddammit we're good at youth development.

This is a dream come true for Ethan White, and hopefully it will turn out to be a dream come true for United fans as well.

"It means so much to be able to play for my hometown team. I've looked up to D.C. United since I was a little boy, and to finally be able to make that step up to RFK Stadium is crazy. I'm still having a hard time believing it."

Believe it, Ethan. We're glad to have you on board.