D.C. United announced today that they have hired Ryan Martin, formerly of FC Cincinnati, as their new academy director. He replaces Nolan Sheldon, who has been promoted to one of Ben Olsen’s assistant coaches for the senior team. Dave Kasper had this to say about the hire:
Ryan has a proven track record of identifying, attracting and developing top talent. He understands what it takes to become a high-level player, and his familiarity with our methodologies and eagerness to build off Nolan’s success made him the obvious choice to oversee our academy.
Before the news was officially announced it had been heavily rumored, and several D.C. United academy players seem to be excited by the hire:
Martin was recently an assistant coach with FC Cincinnati under head coach (and former Black-and-Red great) John Harkes, but left in October to pursue other opportunities.
It was Martin’s job before that which is interesting, as an assistant at Wake Forest from 2007-2015, and he served as the recruiting coordinator for the last six years. During that time he brought in current MLS players such as Jack Harrison and Sean Okoli (New York City FC), Chris Duvall (Montreal Impact), Jared Watts (Colorado Rapids).
However, Martin is familiar with the Black-and-Red, having recruited current defender Jalen Robinson and recently traded (to Minnesota United FC) midfielder Collin Martin among several DCU Academy grads. Another name of recent note is Ian Harkes, whom D.C. is reportedly close to signing as a homegrown player. Harkes’ teammate Jacori Hayes - likely to be picked very early in next week’s SuperDraft - appeared for the DCU U-23 team the past two summers. Martin coached the Columbus Crew under-23s and served as a scout for Toronto FC at one point.
Martin replaces Nolan Sheldon, who was the previous Academy Director who was promoted to the first team staff in November to replace Amos Magee, who left his role on the staff in DC to take on the Director of Player Personnel at MNUFC.