D.C. United is on the cusp of signing Griffin Yow, a 16-year-old midfielder from Fairfax County who scored for the organization’s second-division team Saturday, multiple people close to the situation said Monday.
As a member of United’s youth academy, Yow is eligible for a homegrown contract. By signing, he would join a growing number of teenagers bypassing college soccer to launch pro careers.
Yow, who turned 16 in September, would continue playing for Loudoun United, an operation launched by D.C. this year for primarily developmental purposes. However, the D.C. coaching staff would undoubtedly consider summoning him for first-team matches, particularly friendlies and in the U.S. Open Cup.
A United spokesman said the organization did not want to comment.
Yow is from Clifton, Va., and withdrew from Centreville High School recently for greater flexibility with his budding soccer career. He is taking online classes. Last year, he scored seven goals in nine appearances for D.C.'s under-17 academy squad and was in the U.S. U-17 national team’s player pool.
Yow was with D.C. United for much of training camp in February and appeared in multiple preseason matches. He has continued training with the first team and is playing for Loudoun United, a pro team in the United Soccer League that is permitted to field amateur academy players.
In the March 9 opener at Nashville, Yow entered in the 58th minute. On Saturday, he started on the left wing, logged 83 minutes and scored the first goal in team history on an ambitious shot from the top of the penalty area that took a deflection and beat the goalkeeper to the back side of the net.
About that historic goal, he said afterward, “It is a great feeling.”
Loudoun United Coach Richie Williams said: “Griffin did a great job. It isn’t easy for a young player, but he came out and showed he was able to compete. He is a very aggressive and talented player, and he showed that by scoring the first goal in club history. He is still going to continue to grow and develop, but he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Reached Monday, Williams said he did not want to comment on Yow’s status.
Yow would become the 12th homegrown signing in D.C. history, following, among others, Bill Hamid, Andy Najar and Chris Durkin.
This winter, the organization signed defender Donovan Pines (Clarksburg, Md.; University of Maryland) and midfielder Antonio Bustamante (Springfield, Va.; William & Mary) to homegrown deals. Both are starting for Loudoun United (0-1-1), which, come August, will play home matches at a new, 5,000-seat stadium in Leesburg. Until then, the team is likely to play four at D.C.'s Audi Field and one at George Mason University.