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Duka to MLS

Dilly Duka, the USA under-20 national team midfielder who left Rutgers this fall and explored pro opportunities in Europe, agreed to a four-year contract with MLS, the Insider has learned.

"It's done," a source close to the situation said.

Duka -- who scored on a long-distance shot against Cameroon at the U-20 World Cup on Sept. 29 -- will be available to all clubs in the league draft in January. However, the New Jersey native has been part of the Red Bulls youth system and, according to sources, adamant about playing for New York. With the second overall pick, the Red Bulls seem almost certain to select him. Expansion Philadelphia has the top choice.

Duka, who turned 20 in September, has Albanian and Belgian family ties, making it easier for him to sign in Europe. Multiple German clubs have been interested in him. My understanding is that, though Duka would receive a modest base salary, the first year of his MLS deal would guarantee him more than $150,000, which is in the neighborhood of the pact signed by 2009 first overall pick Steve Zakuani ($65,000/$163,000).

By Steve Goff  |  November 7, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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great snag for MLS. Hope he lives up to expectations.

Posted by: nairbsod | November 7, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a great development, and we really need more like this. Between Duka, Hamid, and others, having home-grown, local products will really help MLS in the long run.

And as a further point - how much of an added incentive do you think it is for a player like Duka to move to a team that has a true HOME like Red Bull Arena? What about in coming years when young players from around NY/NJ will go to that incredible stadium and get a sense of glamor and gravitas that they couldn't possibly get at at place like Giants Stadium or Gillette or even RFK?

Posted by: VercengetorixII | November 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Well done to MLS for getting him but he shouldn't have to go through the draft. If he wants to play for NY then NY should have the right to negotiate and sign him. Not a fan of the single entity system. What if Philly picks him? What then?

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | November 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse


I think you're correct, and would add the same is true for interim/potential coaches...

On the down side, despite payroll parity MLS could develop a kind of class system in terms of facilities.

On the plus side, to have its New York metro facility become an actual center of gravity for MLS would be a freaking miracle, and a huge shot in the arm for the league overall.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 7, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"adamant" about playing for a certain team? Who does this kid think he is, Freddy Adu? Ben Olsen?

And did someone say adamant?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 7, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Haha 270, way to Stand and Deliver!

I think Nowak should draft him and hold out for a mega transfer fee. Give em the old Dilly Dally.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 7, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"I think Nowak should draft him and hold out for a mega transfer fee."

Right, Columbus was hoping that would work when they won the Szetela lottery. All they got was a case of locker room cancer.

Nowak will pick a known player who can step in and start. I'm pretty sure that means he will select Ike Opara.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | November 7, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Ike Opara is the only player I'd consider taking over Duka.

Speaking of Philly, have you guys seen the stadium progress? Looks like a mighty fine place.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 7, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

What picks do DC have in the MLS Superdraft?

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | November 7, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

you tread on an ant, ant comes looking for you...


(is that too far a stretch to make it a soccer reference?)


Posted by: troy6 | November 7, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of new stadiums (stadia?), I saw this article about a planned light rail route in the Gaithersburg-Germantown area. I wonder whether this will have any impact on the search for a stadium site. (Obviously this project is far in the future, if indeed it ever comes to fruition at all, but then again United will probably still be at RFK far into the future.)

Posted by: universityandpark | November 7, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Jersey boy would be OK with playing in Philly, if it comes to that.

Posted by: fischy | November 7, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if this idea has been explored but given the level of poverty some of our younger players live under due to their low MLS salaries maybe if we added a dormitory to our new stadium plans Habit for Humanity would step in and help build it for us?

I heard there is a bit empty plot of land on Poplar Point that isn't being used and I have a few shovels...,,4243189,00.html

Posted by: Southeasterner | November 7, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Pilly and Dilly? Has the whole world gone willy-nilly? I really think we need to take a chilly pilly.

Sorry guys I shouldn't have hit the submit button but I'm feeling really silly.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | November 7, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Chicago (Thorrington) has drawn first blood against the Revs, about 35 minutes into the match.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 7, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link Southeasterner. I think many have joke about putting in their time at the job site, you could count me in. It would be kinda cool to put your "down payment" on your season tickets by paying in some sweat equity.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 7, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Chicago gets a second goal at about 82'.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 7, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

blanco just put chicago into the eastern conference championship (almost...5 minutes left). this has been a great game. very intense, NHL playoff-ish.

Posted by: birdynumnum | November 7, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

NE should have gotten a penalty. then, miss an easy header.

Posted by: birdynumnum | November 7, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

This is why I don't get when people say the playoffs should disappear.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 7, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

playoffs are fine. just need to tweak the format somehow to reward the teams that do well in the regular season. that was a great game. makes me feel nostalgic for the days when DCU actually made the playoffs. ahh...good times.

Posted by: birdynumnum | November 7, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The playoffs are fine, the boring first legs just suck.
Congrats to the Fire and their supporters for giving us something more interesting to look at than another match in New England.
Nice big games tomorrow.

Hey Jacob! How do you like my chances against the Skins tomorrow!?!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 7, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Glad Chicago won. New England is gutty but their lack of offensive threats means they have to play ugly to win.

Minus a playoff game or two left, Brandon Prideaux has finished a long MLS career without scoring a goal. But I've seen him be involved in creating a couple this season with ovelapping runs down the right. Great work by Nyarko to set up the series winner for Blanco.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 7, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Well Daddy Ice, I'm hoping I can get something better than 19-42... Better yet, I expect it.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 7, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@U&P: The only place in that area for a stadium is a farm (ex-farm?) off Sam Eig/370. I think MoCo has other plans for that space if/when the owner sells. As you may have read, MoCo has failing marks for planned growth, so why not just build more townhouses and strip malls. But I digress. Anyway, aforementioned site is close to two establishments that are important to MLS: Dick's Sporting Goods and a hospital.

The farm is just above the marker on this map.,+rockville,+MD&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=9915+Gable+Ridge+Terrace,+Rockville,+Montgomery,+Maryland+20850&ll=39.109884,-77.204211&spn=0.008508,0.01929&t=h&z=16

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 8, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong woth playoffs, just the stupid home-home format.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 8, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I fear this signing will lead to suffering for all.

Posted by: DCUinCT | November 8, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

You talkin about Dilly Duka or the health care bill?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 8, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

portugal is the new scandinavia...

when our u-18s played in the annual lisbon tournament in may, I waxed rhapsodic about a defender with amazing skills: gale agbousoumonde (which I just misspelled but cannot bother to look up the correct spelling). apparently I wasn't the only one watching. portuguese league leaders braga have made an offer to him. he signed with the same management group that brought greg garza to sporting lisbon. with kamani hill, freddy adu, and that young dc goalkeeper, we have the makings of a fine u-23 squad there! unless hill is over 23, which i also can't be bothered to look up.

Posted by: troy6 | November 8, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Dukkha is a Pali word used in Buddhist meaning disatisfaction or suffering.

"Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha."

So, health care debate would fall into that as well.

Posted by: DCUinCT | November 9, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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