Defender Jalen Robinson, a member of D.C. United’s youth academy for four years, has left Wake Forest University after two seasons to sign a homegrown contract with the MLS club.
He becomes the seventh player to rise through United’s development system and sign with the first team, joining goalkeeper Bill Hamid (Annandale), defenders Conor Shanosky (Sterling) and Ethan White (Kensington), midfielders Andy Najar (Alexandria) and Collin Martin (Chevy Chase), and forward Michael Seaton (Capitol Heights). All remain with United, except Najar, who was sold to Belgian power Anderlecht last winter.
Martin left Wake Forest last winter after one college season.
College players with ties to an MLS club’s academy are exempt from the league draft.
Robinson, 19, is “one of the most athletic players in all of college soccer who can play center back or right back,” General Manager Dave Kasper said in a written statement. “He is very composed on the ball as he looks to play out of the back, and he also excels at one on one defending.”
Robinson is from Catonsville, Md., and attended Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore before enrolling at Wake, where he started 36 matches over two seasons and was named to the all-ACC freshman team in 2012 and all-ACC second team this past fall.
Meantime, a player high on United’s list to select with the No. 1 overall pick at the Jan. 16 draft in Philadelphia — Cal junior center back Christian Dean (bio) — tweeted today that he has signed with MLS. Others under consideration include Dean’s backline partner, Cal senior Steve Birnbaum (bio), and Maryland forward Patrick Mullins, the nation’s leading scorer in 2013.