French Team Signs D.C.'s Pick

Thursday, January 31, 2008

After spending two days introducing newly acquired international players, D.C. United yesterday learned that its top pick in the MLS draft has signed with a French club.

United selected University of California midfielder Andrew Jacobson in the second round and projected him as a promising reserve player this season. Jacobson, 22, was scheduled to join the club at training camp in Bradenton, Fla., today, but instead decided to sign with FC Lorient, which is a part of the top French league.

Like most players entering the draft, Jacobson had not agreed to a deal with MLS, which oversees all contracts, and his representatives arranged a tryout with the French team. According to United General Manager Dave Kasper, the club was unaware of the arrangement until after the draft.

"It's disappointing, but there is always a risk of drafting a player who is unsigned by the league," Kasper said. "He told me [last week] that he had this French trial set up for some time and he wanted to see it out but that he planned to play in MLS. He sounded excited about coming here."

Last year United draft choice Jay Needham, a defender from Southern Methodist, turned down a contract offer and signed with the Puerto Rico Islanders, a club in the second-tier United Soccer Leagues.

-- Steven Goff

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