"For me, it's a huge opportunity," said Warburton, a graduate of Loyola University, where he played for four years. "It's always been a dream of mine to play professional soccer and I want to play at the highest level possible."
The 22-year-old Warburton played last summer for the Baltimore Kings U-23 men's team last summer, and he made quite an impression on Josh Danza, the organization's chairman and founder. Danza said he was equally impressed with Warburton's soccer talent as he was with his leadership skills.
"We will train him and market him," Danza said. "He is the perfect candidate for what we are looking for. He is versatile and can play different positions.
"And from Day One, he really led the group," Danza added of the U-23 team. "He ended being captain of the team and they won the league title."
The Kings will play one game in the fall, another in the spring of 2018, and additional contest in the summer. They'll hold tryouts in February to attract more players. Warburton tried out for the U-23 team about a year and the pro team last month.
"We had no idea who Dave was at this time last year," Danza said. "He came out and tried out for the U-23 team and performed very well. We offered him a spot on the team. Not only is he a good player, but he is a great person and he leads by example. He works full-time and we are looking to show case guys like him."
Loyola coach Steve Nichols believes Warburton possesses all the qualities to help the Kings off and on the field.
Nichols said he saw Warburton, who graduated from the school with degree in economics last spring and is now working toward an MBA in international business there, do exactly that during the three seasons he coached him.
"I think he will be one of the Kings better players, and have an immediate impact," Nichols said. "As a new organization and new team, he should help set the standard like he did for us with a culture and environment that will provide them with incredible success in the next couple of years."
Warburton started as a freshman and sophomore at Loyola. He started a few games as a junior and came off the bench as a senior.
"We started eight freshmen this year, and some of the best players in the country," Nichols said. "His role was going to change. Dave was great about that. He was one of the most respected guys in the locker room. He did everything the right way. Some of these talented freshmen made mistakes, and he was always there to put his arm around them."
For three seasons, Warburton served as captain for Gerstell, where he played for his father Bill, who worked as an assistant coach. Dave helped Gerstell to its first soccer championship in school history — the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference title in 2011.
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Now, Warburton is glad he'll be continuing play the sport.
He's played it most of his life and competing for two years for the D.C. United Academy team ranks among the highlights.
"It's the beginning of something that is completely unknown," Warburton said of the new professional team. "That is really exciting. It might be a mediocre team or maybe it explodes and becomes something that no one can even imagine."