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D.C. United sign midfielder Ted Ku-DiPietro to homegrown contract

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D.C. United made the long-rumored official, signing midfielder Ted Ku-DiPietro to a MLS homegrown contract. First reported by Steven Goff, the move makes Ku-DiPietro the sixth player Ryan Martin has coached at the Academy and USL levels who has gone on to sign a homegrown deal with the Black-and-Red, joining Jeremy Garay, Jacob Greene, Griffin Yow, Moses Nyeman, and Kevin Paredes.

“We’ve been impressed with Ted over the last two seasons in the USL Championship,” Lucy Rushton, D.C. United General Manager, said. “He has made great strides as a player since joining Loudoun United and we’re excited to see him continue to develop with our first team. He has the unique ability to break lines with the ball at his feet and covers a lot of ground in the midfield. Ted is another example of how the D.C. United Academy produces and develops quality players for our first team, and we wish Ted the best of luck as he makes the adjustment to MLS.”

Unlike the previous quintet, Ku-DiPietro signed a professional contract with Loudoun in 2020, after making his professional debut in a June 2019 win over Atlanta United 2 and scoring his first professional goal in a September 2019 win over Swope Park Rangers/Sporting Kansas City II. Finishing the year with a goal and assist in nine games (four starts), Ku-DiPietro also appeared in nine and started four in 2020, with his only goal in a win over the New York Red Bulls II.

2021 was a breakout year for Ku-DiPietro, who turns 20 next month, and led the team in several categories, including games played (30), minutes played (2,467), as well as goals (7), assists (3) and chances created (45). Mostly playing a variety of positions in midfield with some time at forward, Ku-DiPietro’s 2021 season was among the leaders within some analytics categories as well.

“Ted has grown and developed as a player during his time with Loudoun United,” Stewart Mairs, Loudoun United FC General Manager, said. “Ted signing with D.C. United is a testament to the success of our Pathway 2 Pro program between the two clubs. He gained valuable professional minutes over the last two years and we’re looking forward to his continued maturation as a player as he makes the jump up to the D.C. United first team.”

The signing makes Ku-DiPietro the 23rd player to D.C.’s roster and the ninth homegrown, in addition to two additional players (Drew Skundrich and Gaoussou Samake), who have made the jump from Loudoun’s roster to D.C.’s.





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Report: DC United signing Greek forward Taxiarchis Fountas as Designated Player

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Fountas has a track record as a leading goalscorer in Austria’s top flight, netting 35 times in 68 league appearances. He broke onto the professional ranks in Greece with AEK Athens from 2011-13 before heading to Red Bull Salzburg.

The club’s forward group is currently headlined by Ola Kamara, who finished second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race last season with 19 goals in 28 games, ceding the top honors to NYCFC‘s Valentin Castellanos via the assists tiebreaker.

D.C., heading into their second year under head coach Hernan Losada, missed an Eastern Conference spot in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs by one point.





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Not another Freddy Adu: RSL’s Axel Kei ready for challenge as youngest-ever MLS signing

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You can draw the comparison if you must. He’s ready for that. In fact, this month’s milestone is actually the second time he’s broken one of Adu’s marks, having already made his pro debut back in October, when he appeared for Real Monarchs in USL Championship action on an academy contract. Kei was 13 years, 8 months and 9 days for the first record; he was 14 years and 15 days for the second.

“The whole pressure of Freddy Adu and all that stuff. I saw all that, I read all the articles, I watched all the YouTube videos,” noted Kei. “Of course there’s going to be people that want to see – ‘oh, this kid, we heard this kid is good, he’s out here breaking records, whatever, I want to see what he has, see what he got.’

“I’m not letting that get into my head. This is just like, I’m still gonna be me. I’m still gonna train. Not because people are saying they want to see this, they want to see that, that I’m gonna change my playing style. It’s just the way I am, I’m not going to change this. I’m still going to be the same Axel Kei, I’m still gonna play how I play. It’s just focusing on what I like to do – soccer.”

If you’re struggling to set a fair barometer for Kei, consider that Beltran and his colleagues at Zions Bank Training Center know all about Adu’s story. How burdensome a record like that and the comparisons it generates can be. And yet Kei’s abilities are so striking, his upward trajectory already so steep, that they could not avoid the conclusion that Salt Lake should sign him now anyway.





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MNUFC Partners with CLEAR to Use Health Pass for Entry at Allianz Field

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Minnesota United announced today a partnership with CLEAR to use their Health Pass technology at Allianz Field to provide easy proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test and offer a safer and faster fan entry into the stadium. CLEAR’s Health Pass will be in place when Allianz Field hosts the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier against Honduras on Wednesday, February 2. 

The partnership coincides with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced on January 12 by Mayor Melvin Carter and the City of Saint Paul. All fans ages five and older attending the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier at Allianz Field must either furnish proof of a completed vaccination series against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken under medical supervision within 72 hours of entry. COVID booster shots are not required, and at-home tests do not meet this requirement. This requirement will remain in place until the vaccine mandate is lifted by the City of St. Paul.

Additionally, all guests at Allianz Field are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. Face coverings are required for fans ages two and older in all indoor spaces unless actively eating or drinking. This includes club spaces, the Atomic Data Suite Level, Black & Blue Team Stores and restrooms.

Fans can complete their CLEAR Health Pass following the instructions below:

For more information on Allianz Field’s COVID-19 policies for the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier on February 2, go to mnufc.com.





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