NEW YORK -- Columbia's Clint Peay will get to play professional soccer near home.
Peay, an Oakland Mills graduate who played on an unprecedented four consecutive NCAA champions at Virginia (1991-94), was the ninth-round Major League Soccer draft pick -- 90th overall -- by D.C. United, which will begin play at RFK Stadium in April.
Peay, a defender, is one of seven former Virginia players now on the roster of Washington's team in the new league, after a two-day draft that concluded yesterday with each of the 10 clubs stocked with 20 players each.
Overall, 13 Virginia players are now on MLS rosters, and former Virginia coach Bruce Arena will direct D.C. United, which opens the MLS season April 6 against the San Jose Clash in a game that will be televised by ESPN.
"It's somewhat a relief and excitement," said Peay, the probable U.S. starting sweeper in this summer's Olympics. "I think it's going to be great in that there are family and friends who will be able to see me play."
Between working out with the Olympic team, which will move next month to old Redskin Park in Herndon, Va., to train with D.C. United, and playing for MLS, Peay will have an intense schedule until the Olympic soccer tournament is completed.
"I'm sure I'll have my days when I'll be worn down, but I'm in that particular lifestyle now," said Peay. "It's not something I'll complain about, not everyone gets to play in the Olympics and MLS."
Midfielder Todd Haskins, a graduate of Howard High and North Carolina, was a 15th-round pick of the Columbus (Ohio) Crew.
Former Blast striker Goran Hunjak also went in the 15th round, to the Tampa Bay Mutiny.