D.C. United has confirmed the rumored re-signing of defender Chris Odoi-Atsem. Per the team, Odoi-Atsem has a one year deal with club-held options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The 22-year-old Mitchellville, MD native had been one of several defenders on trial with the Black-and-Red during preseason, and ultimately has beaten out MLS veteran Sheanon Williams and former Club Tijuana fullback John Requejo Jr.
“Chris is an athletically gifted young talent who has the tools to be successful in this league,” said United GM Dave Kasper in a team press release. “Last season, he proved that he can make the jump to the professional level and we’re excited to continue working with him in the 2018 season.”
Normally, a first round pick like Odoi-Atsem returns to the team with no real issues. However, despite appearing in 9 regular season games and both of United’s U.S. Open Cup matches last year, the club opted to neither pick up his option nor waive him. Instead, Odoi-Atsem was invited to preseason, where he had to convince United to bring him back.
Odoi-Atsem will round out United’s set of potential fullbacks for the time being. He, Nick DeLeon, and Oniel Fisher are all primarily right backs, but all three can play on the left as well (with Fisher having by far the most MLS experience as a left back). Before being selected with the 12th overall pick in last year’s draft, Odoi-Atsem spent four years at the University of Maryland.