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Najar signs with D.C. United

Midfielder Andy Najar, a junior at Edison High School in Alexandria, Va., who excelled in D.C. United's youth academy, has signed a pro contract with the MLS club. Terms were not disclosed, but under salary guidelines agreed upon in the new collective bargaining agreement, he will earn at least $40,000.

Najar, who turned 17 last week, played for United's under-16 and under-18 teams last year and spent much of this preseason with the senior squad, starting several matches. He is a right-side player with attacking qualities and has been tested at right back as well.

As homegrown players, Najar and Bill Hamid, an academy goalkeeper who signed last fall.....

will not count against the 24-player roster limit and are eligible for all competitions, United officials said. The homegrown roster rule is incentive for clubs to develop their own talent. Each club is permitted two homegrown exemptions.

Najar, who came to the States from Honduras a few years ago, scored 22 goals and was named first-team All-Met by The Post last spring. With the help of a tutor arranged by United, he will continue to pursue a high school diploma.

"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," United President Kevin Payne said.

The MLS roster deadline is Wednesday at 5 p.m. for 20 senior and four developmental players. While the developmental classification remains in place in the new collective bargaining agreement, developmental contracts no longer exist, the Insider has learned. Other details in the CBA are expected to be made public within two weeks. The pact must first be ratified by the players and MLS board of governors.

By Steve Goff  |  March 22, 2010; 7:26 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
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Next: Tuesday kickaround


Great news. Seemed like a really promising player, especially when they moved him to left wing when Castillo was taken off Saturday. Congratulations to him and the team.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | March 22, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

so no word on if the number of home-grown players has changed or anything?

Posted by: crocken | March 22, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Great News - Thank You Front Office - you got this one right

Posted by: londonboy | March 22, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

A very positive and interesting development. I hope DCU has learned by experience from the previous signings of Quaranta and Convey that teenagers must be treated very carefully. (I'm not counting Adu in that mix because of the hype -- I think Convey and Quaranta are better examples.)

Posted by: griffin1108 | March 22, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Goff, is Najar able to play this season? This may be a dumb question but I ask because Hamid wasn't eligible for league play last season. Am I asking this too soon, as the full CBA hasn't been released?

Posted by: grubbsbl | March 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The roster exemption is great because it allows for loans to a lower division side to aid in development without harming the roster depth.

Posted by: beach3 | March 22, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Once again, my theory that most folks around here don't actually read the post before making comments is proven.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | March 22, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff for clearing up the new rules on homegrown roster exemptions and developmental contracts. Nice to have clarity. At least until MLS decides to change things on a whim again.

Posted by: DCUMD | March 22, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I actually think that's one of the great things about having Tino around - hopefully he'll be able to relate a bit to Najar and Hamid and help them adjust and learn from his mistakes.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | March 22, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I was very impressed with Andy during the game on Saturday. Taken out of his natural position in the mid he played RB during the first half and part of the second, he looked very comfortable and composed. He had one play in particular that stood out for me. He disposesed an attacker from a corner and when no outlet options were available took the ball up on his own. I like the signing and after seeing the team this weekend am very sunny for this season. I think a lot of teams will underestimate us this year and it could prove usefull for us.

Posted by: evanskr521 | March 22, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know whether homegrown player salaries count at 100% against the cap? Obviously DCU has plenty of space but if you pull $80K or so away from the cap while adding two extra players, you're just going to dilute your depth, not expand it.

Posted by: benonthehill | March 22, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

haha SonicDeathMonkey you may be correct. Give me a break though, my day started at 5:15 am in DC and I am now in Flagstaff, AZ after two flights and a two hour car drive. I honestly reread the post a few times but must have zoned out. Man class is going to suck in an hour....

Posted by: grubbsbl | March 22, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Najar played RB for the academy team in 2009, and has played as a striker and midfielder for most of his life, so he is actually more versatile then Mctavish in that regard...

and I agree with SonicDeathMonkey

Posted by: BurchFan4 | March 22, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Now John Busch is a FA...weird.

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Unless he has finished growing and already filled out (think Freddy Adu at 15); who knows where Najar will end up position-wise. At that age, it is more about understanding if they have the speed, technical skill and potential for size on longer term basis (and unlike Mr. Adu) the attitude that will allow for long-term growth.

Posted by: jnel | March 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Blah, Blah, Blah..

@Reignking, did this fantasy thing get figured out yet? Let's do this!

I've bee a little off the grid for the last week, and am excited about all things DCU and MLS period for that matter now, that I shouldn't have too much getting in the way of all that in the next couple days.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 22, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

John DiaRamondo has been waived by the club, per BTB about half an hour ago. What happened to the CM depth???

Posted by: BurchFan4 | March 22, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

dadryan: doesn't look like it is running

Posted by: Reignking | March 22, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

5 days until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | March 22, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Brother Fisch: I hope you're feeling better about the right wing. Najar will bring just the right touch of ideological fanaticism!

Posted by: dcarmy | March 22, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

And for Jeopardy's daily double: Which actor from what movie used that phrase?

Posted by: dcarmy | March 22, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

This makes home grown players valuable. I like the sound of that.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | March 22, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking, I just registered a team at the site that delantero suggested previously...:
probably be down to start a league if anyone else is down? As Bob the Builder says: Can we do it!? YES WE CAN!

Posted by: DadRyan | March 22, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Insider Outsiders? Insider Loyalists League? Argy Bargy Malarky?

I do see a DC premier league, and some other seemingly local groups, but I have no pass codes. If I don't hear something soon, I'll just pick one of the names above.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 22, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Brother Fisch: I hope you're feeling better about the right wing. Najar will bring just the right touch of ideological fanaticism!


I'm excited just to watch him develop -- wherever he plays, As far as ideology goes, I promise not to ask where he stan

How soon until we can cap him?

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

As far as ideology goes, I promise not to ask where he stands on the Honduran constitutional crisis....

I do want to know how he might feel about suiting up for the Stars and Stripes one day...

Stupid question of the Day: How come all the MLS Academy products are foreign nationals? And, the 2008 Sueno MLS winner is in Argentina.... Is this why we're starting up Academies -- to breed the future stars for other countries?

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

fischy, I think we might see that change a bit now that it looks like the wages have gone up dramatically for academy players. It was hard for a domestic kid with an opportunity to get a full ride at college to turn down a scholarship to make under 20k a year with no guarantees. I believe there were a few that said no thanks to the low wages and passed on contracts.

Posted by: csd1 | March 22, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse


I'm in whenever you make the call. Poplar Point United.

Posted by: benonthehill | March 23, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

League: Argy Bargy Insiders
Password: united
My team: Night Marchers

We could really use at least 20 people registering a team and joining the division to at least keep it alive.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 23, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Alright, I'm down DadRyan. Just signed up.....I've never done a fantasy soccer league. Is there a draft?

Posted by: redskinsux | March 23, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

Alright, I'm down DadRyan. Just signed up.....I've never done a fantasy soccer league. Is there a draft?

Yes, it's a webcast hosted by Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller...

Posted by: BillUrban | March 23, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Given that I haven't updated my Argy Bargy Champions League roster since the group stage, I'm not sure if I should have a team in the MLS fantasy league. But if I did "set it and [audience is prompted to complete the phrase]" it will make the rest of you fell good about not being in last place. Sigh. It's like race day in elementary school all over again.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 23, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Note the colors on Seattle invented fantasy soccer.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 23, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Fischy, I hadn't even heard of Najar until last year. If he has indeed already been here a few years, hopefully his parents have applied for citizenship. I hope we cap him on the day of his swearing-in ceremony!

Posted by: dcarmy | March 23, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Can't do mfls. Already have a team in another division.

Posted by: Reignking | March 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

@Reignking,You could always quit your other division and join this new one... Or use your wife's name or something to register another team? :)
I've never used that site, so it'll be interesting.

@270, last I checked your CL fantasy squad was doing ok... I'd suggest some tweaks before this next round gets under way. I think you get up to 6 free transfers.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 23, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

@redskinsux, it's not generally like the other fantasy leagues out there. No drafts. Just pick your team and join. Not familiar with transfers, etc. in, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 23, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I doubt any of us had heard of him before last year. Mostly, I was noting that so many of the best youth players in this country are foreign nationals. Gabriel Funes out of Dallas won Sueno MLS. That just brought him attention back in Argentina, and he didn't stay with FC Dallas. Now, he's with River Plate scoring against Boca and getting compared with Hernan Crespo, as he's pursued by Euro sides.

Sure, the US ODP clubs are finding and giving us players like Gil and McInerney, but it seems the players being promoted out of MLS' Academies are all foreign nationals. Bravo for these kids -- but it's still disconcerting. Even when you look at the USA roster -- so many of the players have had foreign parents. I'm wondering how long it will be before second and third generation Americans can compete with immigrants and sons of immigrants.

Posted by: fischy | March 23, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The transfer policy there is a bit confusing...something to do with salaries, and a slush fund, and a limit on transfers (30?).

Posted by: Reignking | March 23, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

dadryan, I'm in the bigsoccer / dcu / lot 8 league....

Posted by: Reignking | March 23, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks DadRyan. Success through purely dumb luck makes me the Forrest Gump of the Argy Bargy league.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 23, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

@fischy - Interesting topic. As a soccer fan and parent, I have a feeling I am about to write, dare I say it, a fischy-like post (in length, I mean, not in quality) on this. Short-ish version: few of our second generation and beyond kids live and breathe soccer and only soccer. They are not obsessively kicking something, getting a million touches a day on a ball or something vaguely shaped like a ball. Even those whose favorite sport is soccer also do other sports. This is probably less true of immigrant and 1st gen kids. To me, all the ODP's, Academies and other clubs teams, no matter how well coached, can't substitute for the unstructured time on the ball.

The good news is that soccer has taken a place not just in formal youth sports but in playgrounds in soccer hotbeds around the country (whether driven by immigrants or the suburban soccer set) that is certainly much bigger than it was when I was a kid. My son plays soccer at most recesses at school as do many of the boys. So, I guess I am optimistic that we will continue to head in the right direction, but slowly, from a national team perspective.

@DadRyan - I'll take a look and, if I am not totally confused, try to join your league.

Posted by: assocfoot | March 23, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

kewl. it's pretty easy. Just pick a team. Look for the Argy Bargy Insiders, the password is united. I tried to make it as easy as possible.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 23, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm in for this Argy Bargy thing - North by Northwest. I've played MFLS in the past, although not for a few years. It takes a week or two, but I picked it up pretty quickly.

Posted by: Kenobi | March 23, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I would think twice about advising a 17 year old kid to give up college eligibility for $40,000 a year.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF: what's to say if his career doesn't work out he can't go to college later on? Besides, he's from Honduras, he prob has mad family that could use the first.

Posted by: bbachrac | March 23, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing to say he can't. But he could obviously get a full ride now, at many places where the annual cost is well above $40,000. I think the odds would suggest that the college degree is worth more in the long run.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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