Ahead of D.C. United’s visit to Toronto FC on Saturday, I profile midfielder Collin Martin, an 18-year-old rookie from Chevy Chase, Md., who left Wake Forest after one year to join MLS but continues to pursue an education at George Washington University. As you will learn from the story, his family is full of brainiacs, he once attended Brad Friedel‘s ill-fated residency program in Ohio, and several DCU teammates are also taking classes.
A few items that did not make the final version of the piece…
Veteran midfielder John Thorrington had a school vs. soccer decision when he was 17. With offers from Stanford and UCLA, he chose Manchester United’s youth program. (Although he trained with the Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS was not a realistic option at that early stage of the league.)
While in England, he pursued a degree in sociology through the UK’s Open University. Some six years later, he got it.
When he joined the Chicago Fire in 2005, Thorrington began work toward a graduate degree in business at Northwestern. He says he is about halfway there and will resume courses when his career ends.
“The options for me to pursue a career or studies, it was an either/or situation,” Thorrington said. “I was able to do it, but the education was down to me to do it on my own. I came to enjoy the discipline of needing to do both and exercising my mind and body.”
Coach Ben Olsen, who left Virginia early to sign with United in 1998, said he took two classes at American University while he was sidelined with ankle injuries midway through his career. “I thought I might have to retire.” He took a sports psychology course and another topic that he couldn’t recall specifically. “Some mental health type course.”
Olsen, on Martin balancing academics and soccer: “He’s a smart kid but he’s got good feet too.”
Martin said his grade-point average over three years in high school (he graduated early) was 3.6, but when weighted, climbed to 4.0.
Martin’s brother Trevor was a defender-midfielder at GW between 2002 and 2005.
In addition to GW classes, Collin joins Thorrington and James Riley for Bible study sessions at RFK Stadium.
In other club news …
Martin is listed as a probable starter against Toronto on the league’s official preview. Three days before the U.S. Open Cup final at Real Salt Lake, Olsen is conserving his regulars.
The probables: Joe Willis in goal; Sainey Nyassi, Conor Shanosky, Daniel Woolard and Taylor Kemp on the backline; Martin, Jared Jeffrey, Lewis Neal and Kyle Porter in the midfield; and Carlos Ruiz and Conor Doyle on the frontline.
Only two players are on the official injury list: Woolard (hamstring) and defender Dennis Iapichino (calf).
Three Toronto individuals are serving suspensions: midfielder Jonathan Osorio, defender Steve Caldwell and Coach Ryan Nelsen.
DCU and TFC combined record: 7-35-17.
Reminder: If you are in the Washington area, the only way to watch is through a live stream provided by Monumental Network’s website. Coverage begins at 12:45 p.m. ET with Dave Johnson and Santino Quaranta. Outside the area, the match can be seen on the Direct Kick and MLS Live pay packages.
Toronto game-time weather: 66 degrees and sunny.
Looking ahead to the Open Cup final Tuesday in Sandy, Utah: temps in the 60s with 0 percent chance of rain.
As you know, GolTV holds exclusive rights to the Open Cup match. Despite limited availability on satellite and cable platforms, the outlet will not provide a live stream. A GolTV spokesman told the Insider that “we don’t have online streaming available.”
There are no plans for a pregame or postgame show and the announcers will call the match from the Miami studio.
English announcers: George Metellus & Juan Arango.
Spanish announcers: Diego Pessolano & Omar Fuentez.
With rosters frozen, the MLS players’ union has released the final list of salaries for 2013.
Looking back to the start of the season, the 10 DCU players earning more than $100,000 in both base salary and guaranteed compensation were:
Dwayne De Rosario ($600,000/$645,000): 21 league matches, 16 starts, 3 goals, 2 assists. Five goals in four U.S. Open Cup matches. The club holds an option to renew or renegotiate his deal this winter.
Chris Pontius ($330,000/$361,000): 18 league matches, 16 starts, 2 goals, 2 assists. Guaranteed contract next year.
Dejan Jakovic ($280,000/$303,000): 18 league matches, 17 starts. Although he has a guaranteed contract next year, the club could seek to re-work the deal and spread his money over multiple years with additional guarantees in order to soften his impact on the salary cap in 2014.
Brandon McDonald ($235,000/$273,000): 12 league matches, 11 starts before being traded to Real Salt Lake. An unspecified share of his salary remains on United’s books until the end of the season.
Rafael: ($220,000/$284,000): 7 league matches, 4 starts, 1 goal. Released on June 26.
Lionard Pajoy ($190,000/$205,000): 18 league matches, 10 starts, 2 goals. Has not started since July 3, then missed considerable time with a knee injury. Likely to be waived at the end of the season.
John Thorrington ($150,000/$150,000): 13 league matches, 11 starts, 1 assist. Club-held option for 2014.
James Riley ($140,000/$145,000): 19 league matches, 17 starts. Club-held option for 2014.
Marcelo Saragosa ($110,000/$110,000): 7 league matches, 3 starts. Surgery on both knees. Club-held option for 2014.
Perry Kitchen ($105,000/$190,000): 28 league matches, 28 starts, 1 goal, 4 assists. (Seeking contract details for 2014.)