D.C. United has added one more player to its roster, signing 2022 SuperDraft pick Sofiane Djeffal a day before the regular season begins. Djeffal, 22, was selected in the second round of last month’s draft after excelling at Oregon State, and his contract contains option years in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
“We have been very impressed with Sofiane’s maturity and presence as a player since he arrived with the team in preseason,” said United GM Lucy Rushton in a team press release. “He is a fierce competitor with ability on both sides of the ball. As well as being positionally aware and a robust ball winner, he has composure in possession and a wide passing range. We are excited to add his skillset to the roster as we continue our preparations for the MLS opener against Charlotte FC on Feb. 26.”
United’s announcement notes that Djeffal, a native of France, has yet to receive his US work visa, meaning that he may have to wait until the Black-and-Red’s second game of the season before being eligible to play.
Collegiately, Djeffal was a four-year starter with the Beavers, posting 18 goals and 19 assists in 62 total appearances. He was the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2021, and made the All-Pac-12 First Team in all four of his seasons in Corvallis. Before that, he came up through the academy at Ligue 1 club FC Nantes, winning a league title at the Under-17 level.
Djeffal figures to compete for time in a central midfield group that includes Russell Canouse, Moses Nyeman, Drew Skundrich, and Jeremy Garay. While he played more of an attacking midfield role in NCAA soccer, all indications are that the team sees him playing a bit deeper at the MLS level, especially as Hernán Losada toggles between systems with two and three central midfielders.
The move brings United up to 26 players under contract. Djeffal will occupy an international roster spot, but with DCU reportedly sending forward Kimarni Smith on loan to Loudoun for the time being, they still have one such spot open. The club remains hopeful that they can bring Designated Player Taxi Fountas in during this window rather than waiting for the summer window to open, and also has designs on a third DP, while rumors that the team could trade or transfer striker Ola Kamara remain persistent without much public movement on that front.