Four D.C. United players to play for Kickers this year

The loan covers the field including a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward.

We knew it was a done deal that four D.C. United players would be heading down I-95 to join the Richmond Kickers but those of us watching weren’t sure of the final list. Earlier this week the list was finalized.

This is the second year of the loan program and Leigh Cowlishaw had this to say in the formal announcement of the loan.

“Our first season as D.C. United’s official USL PRO affiliate proved extremely beneficial to both clubs as the overall depth of our squad and on-field product improved while providing significant playing time for several of United’s younger players,” commented Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer.  “Joe, Michael, Christiano and Jalen are great additions to our group and we look forward to them making a positive impact for our team while we build upon last season’s success.”

Joe Willis, Goalkeeper,  is the only real surprise on this list. Willis served as DCU’s 2nd string behind Hamid for all of last year and has had 22 regular season league starts since arriving in 2011. We won’t take too close of a look at his stats, last year he went 1-7-1, but was playing behind a backline that was as porous as Spongebob and somehow even more irritating. Willis did an excellent job guiding DCU through the Open Cup including two saves against the Kickers when the game went to penalty kicks. I was fully expecting Dykstra to be back in Richmond this year but as of right now he’ll be sitting on the bench waiting to fill Hamid’s grumpy shoes.  Take the time to read about #angryjoewillis, a preview of what you’re in for is in the photo above.

Christiano Francois, Midfielder-forward, came to DCU from University of Maryland and is a Haiti U-17 National Team member. While with University of Maryland in 2012 Francois played in all 24 games and produced five goals, four assists. During the DCU pre-season his speed was impressive and with more playing time could develop into a serious attacking threat.

Jalen Robinson, Defender, another youngster needing seasoning in competition. He’s a 19-year-old out of Wake Forest and was D.C.United’s 7th Homegrown player to be signed. Unfortunately he injured his hamstring during the Carolina Challenge Cup. Injuries are one area that D.C. United has excelled in over the past years and it’s nice that United is training their younger players in this niche skillset.

Michael Seaton, Forward, will be a familiar face to the Kicker faithful. He played in 15 games and notched 5 goals, which put him fourth among goal scorers, which is pretty good for a 16 year old. Solid player and likely to see some call-ups by United as the seasons progresses and he’s needed to plug roster holes due to injury and fatigue.

Kickers begin their 2014 campaign this Saturday night away at Charleston Battery before returning to City Stadium on April 5th to face the Pittsburgh RiverHounds. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate on game day.

Photo: Richmond Kickers

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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