D.C. United have acquired goalkeeper Jon Kempin in a trade with the Columbus Crew, sending their 3rd round pick in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft to Ohio in the exchange. Kempin, 27, will join a goalkeeping corps that includes Bill Hamid and Chris Seitz.
“Jon has 11 years of professional experience and it will be an important element to add to our roster ahead of the 2021 season,” said United GM Dave Kasper in a team press release. “We are looking forward to giving Jon a fresh start in MLS and an opportunity to compete with our other goalkeepers.:
Kempin started his MLS career in 2010 by signing a homegrown contract with Sporting Kansas City. After three years, Kansas City felt he had developed to the point where he needed real games, sending him out on loan to the USL version of Orlando City in 2013, and then similar assignments to OKC Energy and the San Antonio Scorpions in the following two years. Sporting then began its own in-house USL affiliate, then known as the Swope Park Rangers, where Kempin spent the bulk of 2016.
Still, he did see sporadic duty with KC, making seven MLS appearances along with some Open Cup play. Released following the 2016 season, he ended up signing with the LA Galaxy after a preseason trial in 2017. Kempin ended up making seven starts for LA that year, and got eight more games in with LA Galaxy II.
A 2018 trade took him from the west coast to Columbus, where he became the top option backing up Zack Steffen. He made eight starts across 2018 and 2019, but the addition of Eloy Room and Andrew Tarbell saw him eventually become third-choice for Caleb Porter, eventually amounting to more time on loan at the USL Championship level with Hartford Athletic (2019) and San Diego Loyal (2020).
With United, Kempin faces a similar challenge to the ones he’s seen previously. Hamid is the established starter, and Seitz is the more experienced alternative. On paper, he would be expected to take over for Earl Edwards Jr. (who recently signed with the New England Revolution) as the third of three goalkeepers, though obviously that perception could change with the hiring of a new coach.
The draft pick trade leaves United with the 4th and 31st overall picks in the SuperDraft, which remains scheduled for January 21st at 2:00pm Eastern.