D.C. United made its first offseason move today, signing defender Jacob Greene to a homegrown contract. Greene, 17, spent six years in United’s academy program and was on course to attend the University of Maryland before opting to sign a professional contract. He becomes the fifth homegrown player on United’s roster, and the fourth to sign since the start of 2019.
Via press release, United GM Dave Kasper said “We have been monitoring Jacob’s development from his days in the D.C. United Academy through his time with our USL affiliate, Loudoun United FC. Towards the end of the season, Jacob was consistently training with the first team and has proven that he has what it takes to make the jump to the next level. Jacob is another example of how valuable Loudoun United has been for developing young players and getting them important professional minutes.”
The Crofton, MD native joined United’s academy in 2014, rising through the ranks just in time for Loudoun United’s start in the USL Championship in 2019. In two seasons with Loudoun, Greene appeared 15 times, mostly playing as a right or left back under coach Ryan Martin.
“This is another proud moment for the D.C. United Academy and we’re excited to see what the future holds for Jacob,” said the club’s academy director Dave Sanford via a team release. “Ever since he joined the Academy in 2014, Jacob has shown that he has the talent, desire, and work ethic to achieve great things for this club. We also want to thank ownership and the technical staff for continuing to work closely with the Academy to create a tangible pathway to the first team for our youth players.”
Greene joins a growing homegrown contingent, with over 20% of United’s current roster signed after time in the club’s academy. While Bill Hamid’s career with the club extends back to 2009, when he became the Black-and-Red’s first-ever homegrown signing, there is a clear trend towards using this path for developing and signing players. Since the start of 2019, United has in addition to Greene signed Donovan Pines, Griffin Yow, Moses Nyeman, and Kevin Paredes.
United’s plans for 2021 appear to be for Greene to mostly play for Loudoun, but a side that spent most of the season asking midfielders to fill in at right back or left back would certainly have reason to be excited about additional depth in those spots. While the club is still searching for a new head coach, this year’s emphasis on giving homegrown players serious minutes in league matches (and what is likely to be a compressed schedule in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic) points to Greene getting a shot at making his MLS debut in the near future.