Amid rumors of Luciano Acosta’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain, D.C. United completed a more traditional transaction today by signing 2019 SuperDraft pick Akeem Ward to a first-team contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, as is standard with MLS contracts. Ward, 23, is a native of Vienna, VA, and was once a ballboy at RFK Stadium during United home games. In three seasons with the Creighton Bluejays, Ward posted 2 goals and 6 assists playing both right and left back.
“We had him rated as the best right back in the draft,” said United GM Dave Kasper after the Black-and-Red used the 14th overall selection to pick Ward in Chicago. “We liked everything about him. We interviewed him at the combine, we thought he was a terrific kid, very humble [and] hard-working.”
Head coach Ben Olsen noted that the team plans to give him a chance in preseason to become a part of United’s regular rotation, or whether he should spend some time playing for Loudoun United. Either way, Ward strengthens United’s depth in the back, which had been tested due to departures and injuries. He’s known for bringing plenty of speed and being a solid defender, but also has plenty of ability to get forward and make an impact on the attacking side of the ball.