This morning, D.C. United announced the long-speculated signing of homegrown player Donovan Pines after a stellar career at the University of Maryland. His signing follows one day after the signing of Antonio Bustamante, a homegrown attacker who played for the College of William & Mary. Pines is the 11th D.C. United homegrown player, and joins Bill Hamid, Jalen Robinson, Chris Durkin, and Bustamante as homegrown players currently on the roster.
The 6’5” center back has won numerous honors and awards, such as being named to the 2018 College Cup All-Tournament team, the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American, 2018 TOp Drawer Soccer Best XI First Team, 2018 United Soccer Coaches First Team All-Region, and 2018 All-Big Ten First Team. He anchored the Maryland’s defense in their run to the National Championship, starting all 22 games and scoring two goals and notching two assists.
He fills a glaring need for United, who now have four natural center backs on the roster. The amount of playing he will get for D.C. United this year depends on whether or not the team signs an experienced center back to challenge Frederic Brillant for the starting spot alongside Steven Birnbaum. If they do, Pines will likely play most of the year for Loudoun United, since playing time will be key for his development. If they do not, I expect that Pines will spend some time at Loudoun, but that he will be given a chance to unseat Brillant himself.