Najar is an accomplished young player who has been successful at every level so far, including the DC United U-16 and U-18 Academy teams, as well as for Edison High School in Alexandria. He's featured in almost every preseason game for United, and never really looked out of place when playing with the first team. Najar has seen time at multiple positions for DC, playing right back in the final match against the Battery, forward for United's U-18 team, and midfield for the team that won the MLS/SUM U17 Cup last year.
Andy Najar gives the club another option at right midfield, the one position that most fans will agree is currently our biggest hole. And while it might not be practical that United will have enough faith in this 17-year old to have him start right away, he will surely earn a few appearances. Najar's got some pretty big shoes to fill in being awarded the number 14 jersey. And if he has any of the same qualities as our previous number 14, he'll surely be inserted into the lineup as soon as ready.
After the break, we'll discuss how this move and other CBA roster rule changes might affect United's final roster.
Soccer Insider was able to provide us answers today to some of the roster questions that we've all been asking. Here's what Professor Gof has taught us from the new CBA so far:
1. As homegrown signees, Bill Hamid and Andy Najar will both be exempt from the 24-man roster, but they WILL be eligible to play in regular season matches. This is a change from last season, and its a huge win for United! Obviously the league is doing its best to make it attractive for teams to develop their own strong youth academies by providing this incentive. Its good to see DC United being the first team to really capitalize on this excellent opportunity.
2. The developmental roster is here to stay, but developmental contracts are now extinct. No more MLS players earning under $15,000! So every player on the full roster will earn at least $40,000. And it seems that the only distinction between senior spots and developmental spots will be age? If that's true, then it could be good news for Barklage, DiRaimondo, and Shipalane, but bad news for Yates, Graye, and Rice.
3. We've heard since the opening lines of the conference call on Sunday that "significantly more" players will have guaranteed contracts. What's that mean? Well don't expect most teams to be handing out contracts to any players who they don't want to pay for an entire year. I might even go so far as to predict that several teams will have fewer than 24 available players on their rosters come Wednesday night.