[MLS] A year ago, Andy Najar was a sophomore playing high school ball at Edison High School in Alexandria, Va. Now he is a professional for D.C. United after being promoted from its academy program as MLS's eighth and youngest homegrown player.
The Honduran-born Najar had played extensively for D.C. United on the right side in the preseason. He started at right back Saturday in its 2-0 win over the Charleston Battery to win the Carolina Challenge Cup.
Najar, a permanent resident, played for the D.C. U-16 and U-18 academy teams in 2009. The U-18s finished second at the Development Academy Finals Week, where he was the leading scorer.
"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."
Najar is D.C.'s second academy signing after goalie Bill Hamid.
Two other academy players played extensively in the preseason but are as of yet unsigned: former U.S. U-17 Juan Agudelo (New York) and Mexican-born Ruben Luna (FC Dallas), the 2009 U-15/16 Development Academy Player of the Year.
PLAYER (TEAM) SIGNING DATE
Tristan Bowen (Los Angeles) Nov. 2008
Tyler Deric (Houston) Feb. 2009
Cesar Zamora (Chivas USA) May 2009
Bill Hamid (D.C. United) Sept. 2009
Giorgi Chirgadze (New York) Sept. 2009
Bryan Leyva (FC Dallas) Sept. 2009
Francisco Navas Cobo (Houston) March 2010
Andy Najar (D.C. United) March 2009