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D.C. United signs Chris Durkin as Homegrown player

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The newest player in Black-and-Red will see action early.

D.C. United

The previously rumored signing of Chris Durkin is now official, with D.C. United signing the 16-year old to a contract today. A team spokesperson informed Black and Red United that Durkin will start in tomorrow night's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup game at the Maryland Soccerplex against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and will wear number 21. Durkin, a versatile player, has played both center back and defensive midfielder for the US youth national teams.

Durkin will go on permanent loan to IMG Academy starting in August, though he is eligible to play in United's US Open Cup games. United told us that since he is the captain and a strong leader of the u17 national team, this will give him "a great developmental year in the US residency with his peers." This will allow Durkin to be brought along slowly, still getting game time, practice, and more rather than jumping into a new team in the middle of the season.

Durkin has made a meteoric rise to a starter's role, having played both from the D.C. United and Richmond United Academies, the Richmond Kickers professional team as an amateur, and captaining the United States U-17 team in recent tournaments in France and India. He also got to play against West Bromwich Albion when they came to Richmond to play the Kickers in a summer friendly.

He played at the United States' Youth Camp in January, trained with Inter Milan in April, and had previously trained with Sparta Rotterdam's academy. As Steve Goff and Charlie Boehm previously reported, Durkin received interest from clubs in Europe and almost joined the Philadelphia Union's youth system at one point. Durkin's signing puts him on the first team with fellow homegrown players Bill Hamid, Collin Martin and Jalen Robinson. Previous homegrown signings include Andy Najar (RSC Anderlecht), Ethan White (New York City FC) and Michael Seaton (late of the Portland Timbers).

We've been told that United does not need to make a move to free up a roster space, due to a rule allowing MLS teams to add a 29th player to their roster if the player is sent on a permanent loan.

Welcome to the team, Chris!