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D.C. United Academy Standout Andy Najar Signs With First Team

March 22, 2010 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - D.C. United News Release

Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2010)? - D.C. United announced today the club has signed Academy midfielder/forward Andy Najar to a Generation adidas contract to join the first team. The 17-year-old standout is the second player to sign with the first team directly from United's Academy, joining goalkeeper Bill Hamid who signed with the first team in September of last year.

Najar, a native of Honduras, is a green card holder and will be classified as a domestic player on United's roster. The talented teenager will be available along with his United teammates, coaching staff and club executives to address the media following tomorrow's training session scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the RFK Auxiliary Training Field.

"We are very excited about Andy's rapid ascent from our U-16 Academy team to our first team," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "This is a great story about the importance of our Academy teams, and the ability those teams give us to find young players who in the past we might never have met. We expect Andy's story with D.C. United to help attract even more great young talent to our program, and I can't wait to see him take the field for our first team." "We are thrilled to have developed and signed our second home grown player from our youth Academy," added United General Manager Dave Kasper. "Andy is a very talented player who possesses excellent technical and tactical abilities. Andy has shown us that he is ready to contribute first team minutes and we are excited about his future."

Najar has spent the majority of the preseason training with Curt Onalfo's side and appeared in a total of five preseason matches. He started in the midfield and went the full distance in the first three games against Columbus (2/13), Toronto FC (2/17) and the New York Red Bulls (2/20) while the Black-and-Red were in Bradenton, Florida. He made his fourth appearance against Real Salt Lake in the Carolina Challenge Cup, entering at halftime. Additionally, Najar started at right back against the Charleston Battery in the Cup finale Saturday night, helping United capture their first Challenge Cup with a 2-0 win over the USL side.

Najar is a versatile player who enjoyed a decorated youth career with United's U-16 and U-18 Academy teams. In 2009, he played right back with the U-16 team and tallied four goals before moving up to the U-18 side and scoring nine goals as a forward. During his time with the Academy program, Najar has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding play. He was named to the United States Soccer Federation Development Academy Starting XI in 2009 and he was the leading scorer in the US Developmental Academy Finals in Los Angeles in 2009. In addition, Najar was named a Washington Post All-Met First Team selection last year at Edison High School in Alexandria after a stellar sophomore season that saw him notch a school-high 22 goals. He was also considered to be the top-rated youth player in the United States in 2009 by Top Drawer Soccer, an online publication that rates the country's premier youth talent.

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