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D.C. United signs Hoffenheim midfielder Russell Canouse

The United States under-20 will immediately compete for playing time at defensive midfield

D.C. United’s preposterously busy transfer window continued this evening, as the club confirmed that they had signed Hoffenheim midfielder Russell Canouse. The 22 year old - a former high school teammate of Travis Worra - has signed a multi-year deal after spending over six full years with Hoffenheim of the German Bundesliga. Canouse spent the 2016-2017 season on loan with VfL Bochum of the 2.Bundesliga, making 20 appearances (8 starts).

“Russell is a dominant holding midfielder with great talent and vision, especially as a young player,” said United GM Dave Kasper in a statement released by the club. “He is a strong, physical presence who has an acute ability to dictate play.”

Despite his age and relative lack of senior-team experience, Canouse will be seen as a competitor for the starting job in defensive midfield straight away. United has not gotten satisfactory play from Jared Jeffrey and Marcelo Sarvas on a consistent basis, while Rob Vincent has spent virtually the entire season dealing with knee surgery or setbacks relating to that procedure. While expected to mostly play in the midfield, Canouse can play right back if needed.

Canouse made numerous appearances for the US under-20 national team, but missed the 2015 Under-20 World Cup due to injury. The native of Lancaster, PA - who was briefly in the New York Red Bulls academy system before heading to Germany - also captained Hoffenheim’s under-19 squad to the German championship in 2014.