The roster overhaul heading in 2018 continued in earnest on Tuesday for D.C. United, as they traded veteran center back Bobby Boswell to Atlanta United in exchange for 3rd Round draft pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Boswell joins Lamar Neagle, who yesterday was traded to the Seattle Sounders, as players who United have parted with at the end of the transfer window.
Boswell spent seven seasons with the Black-and-Red over the course of two different stints with the team. He was undrafted out of college, but quickly became a first choice center back for United after earning a contract via preseason trial. He was then traded to the Houston Dynamo, where he spent six seasons starting in 2008.
Before departing for Atlanta, Boswell came to RFK Stadium once more on Tuesday, saying his goodbyes to the team that he spent most of his career with.
“Bobby was here to say goodbye to us. It was heartfelt,” United head coach Ben Olsen told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “Bobby is one of my favorite players that I’ve ever been around. I was lucky enough to play with him, and coach him. He means a great deal to me, and this club.”
Rejoining United after the terrible 2013 season, Boswell quickly helped United get back on the right track. With Boswell captaining the club, United went from three wins to top of the Eastern Conference in 2014, with D.C. ending the season as the joint best defensive side. For his efforts, Boswell was named to the end of season MLS Best XI.
Boswell continued to partner Steve Birnbaum in defense during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, as United made the playoffs both of those years as well. However, Boswell was set to have a reduced role with the Black-and-Red this year, the last year of his contract. Sean Franklin was converted to a center back in the offseason, and started the campaign alongside Birnbaum.
Eventually Kofi Opare took over, though Boswell got a run of games this year when Steve Birnbaum picked up a concussion against the New York Red Bulls in April. Boswell ended his season with United having played 10 games, all starts. His lone goal this year came towards the end of that spell, when he scored a header against the Dynamo.
All told, Boswell played 188 MLS games in the Black-and-Red, good enough for fifth most in team history. He ends his United career only trailing Jaime Moreno, Ben Olsen, Bryan Namoff, and Marco Etcheverry.
“It was a sad day in that sense. But like always, Bobby handles things like an absolute pro, and a man,” added Olsen. “He’s looking forward to a new challenge, and it’s a move for the future for us. This is professional sports, it’s a tough business when you create relationships with players, and I’m the type of coach that does that. It’s a sad day, but there’s also some new blood coming in here that helps, and gives us new energy.”