Sometimes in the process of writing a billion or so words about the local soccer concern, you will find out you got something wrong. Well, when it comes to Bobby Boswell, I have to be clear: I was wrong. When D.C. United took him in the 2013 Re-Entry Draft, my first suspicion was that Ben Olsen was falling prey to the idea of getting the old gang back together in the hopes that things would work like they used to.
I wasn't alone in thinking this way, and there were reasons to believe the move might not be a huge success. His 2013 hadn't been the greatest for the Houston Dynamo, and the addition of Jeff Parke a month later left United likely starting two center backs who were a) over 30 and b) never known for their speed. It seemed like fast forwards were going to be a recurring issue for United.
Instead, Boswell - who Olsen quickly named his new club captain - had an excellent season. He was named to the All-Star Team, and his vocal presence as the main organizer of the team's defensive efforts saw United finish tied with LA for the fewest goals conceded in MLS. He is also on every reasonable person's shortlist for Defender of the Year.
Perhaps playing with a chip on his shoulder after Houston showed a willingness to let him go, Boswell had arguably the best season of his career alongside both Parke and Steve Birnbaum. The gritty mentality United relied on all season came in part from Boswell's leadership on and off the field. Oddly enough, he also put up 3 assists, a career high. He also scored one goal (as well as briefly being credited with another that was later ruled to be Perry Kitchen's instead).
The list of potential doubts one might have in Boswell mostly will involve the fact that he turns 32 early next season. However, Boswell clearly feels that this isn't an issue, and he probably has a point. He didn't miss a game for United this year, and over the past three seasons has missed a grand total of three matches (two of which were due to a red card suspension rather than injury). Center backs are often still in their prime at 31 or 32, and Boswell says he still feels like a youngster. Some guys just have a gift for staying durable, and Boswell appears to be that sort of player.
I'm pretty sure I know how this one is going to go, but let's still put it to a vote: