KENYA BROWN - Friday, August 11, 2017
Two young Americans have returned home as Russell Canouse and Paul Arriola were signed by Major League Soccer team DC United prior to the league's transfer deadline.
The news of the signings comes as United look to make preparations for next season when they move to their new stadium, Audi Field, as their chances to qualify for the playoffs this season are minimal.
The Eastern Conference team first announced the signing of Canouse, a defensive midfielder, on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old joins the team after spending time with German Bundesliga team Hoffenheim. He joined the team's youth academy in 2011 and went on to make his debut with the first team on March 12, 2016, in their game against Wolfsburg. The following season, he would join 2. Bundesliga team VfL Bochum, making 20 appearances and scoring one goal.
When speaking to the press at his unveiling, Canouse said the decision to return to the US was not easy, but he is excited about returning to a team he supported as a child.
"It was a tough decision. I was pleased with what DC United put forth-the new stadium coming, the development of the club; I wanted to be a part of it," said Canouse. "Also, as a kid around 8 or 9 years old my dad brought me down to games at RFK Stadium. I remember going and seeing Ben [Olsen] as a player, Freddy Adu, all those guys. So, coming back, standing out there in the stadium, having my first interview and being able to walk out on the field was pretty special."
Canouse's signing was then followed by the announcement that Arriola had joined the team as Liga MX team Club Tijuana to the transfer - a club-record fee.
The signing of the California native was more of a surprise as there were rumors that there was interest from teams in Europe. While there was talk of a possible move to MLS, it appeared would have been complex as the Los Angeles Galaxy had claimed they had the right of first refusal for the player as he trained with them a handful of times.
However, United were able to iron out the wrinkles in making the deal happen before the transfer deadline.
Arriola joins the team after a successful appearance with the US national team as they went on to win this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The winger said after weighing his options, he feels joining DC United is the right choice in his young career.
"In the end, I had to look at all of my goals-my short-term, medium-term and long-term goals-when I looked at them, I think the plan that D.C. had for me was what I was looking for, and that made the decision easy," said Arriola. "With the new players that we have and the young, newer faces going forward, I think it's great. Obviously, getting a new stadium and slowly transitioning to that is something that's going to be very special and I'm really excited for it, too.
"In the end, you have to do what makes you happy and the only thing you can ask for as a human is to search for happiness. In the end, this was a spot I felt comfortable with and in the end, it was a great decision. Playing-wise, I'm looking to grow and constantly be on the field."
Both Arriola and Canouse will be looking to make their first appearance for the Black-and-Red when they face Real Salt Lake at RFK Stadium on Saturday.