Digest: D.C. United drafts Terps defender Odoi-Atsem

D.C. United took a locally trained player in the first round of the Major League Soccer draft Friday. It continues, however, to wait for a resolution on a higher-profile prospect from the area.

With the No. 12 overall selection, United turned down a late offer from the rival New York Red Bulls and picked Maryland right back Chris Odoi-Atsem (DeMatha). He'll join a D.C. team that already includes two former Terps: Taylor Kemp and Patrick Mullins.


Meanwhile, United remain in talks with Wake Forest midfielder Ian Harkes, a Gonzaga grad from Fairfax, Va., who last week won the Hermann Trophy as college soccer's best player. The club owns Harkes' homegrown rights because he was a member of its youth academy. It has offered him a long-term deal, but he has been exploring opportunities in England.

Recruited by Maryland to play right back, Odoi-Atsem started in central defense for two years out of necessity before moving wide.


"I was surprised he lasted that long but delighted D.C. picked him up," Terps coach Sasho Cirovski said. "Obviously, they know him better than anyone in the draft."

United drafted Kemp with its No. 1 pick (17th overall) in 2013 and traded for Mullins last summer.

"Our relationship with the university is a good one," Olsen said, "and they consistently are producing great talent."

Cirovski joked, "I think they have season tickets."

Growing up in Prince George's County, Odoi-Atsem said he attended United matches regularly. "I remember being a little kid and, after the games, going down to certain areas so you can get your things signed — Freddy Adu, Alecko Eskandarian. Jaime Moreno. A couple of balls full of autographs."

In the second round, United drafted Monmouth goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (34th overall). He'll compete with holdover Charlie Horton for No. 3 on the depth chart behind Bill Hamid and Travis Worra. The club was preparing to make another pick later in the second round (43rd).

UCLA junior forward Abu Danladi, a native of Ghana, was the No. 1 overall pick by expansion Minnesota United, followed by Syracuse defender Miles Robinson to expansion Atlanta United and Akron forward Jonathan Lewis to New York City FC. Bethesda's Jeremy Ebobisse, a former Walter Johnson High and Duke forward, went fourth to the Portland Timbers.

United players are scheduled to report to RFK Stadium on Jan. 23. The team will begin workouts in earnest Jan. 26 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., before moving to nearby Clearwater. The exhibition schedule is likely to include friendlies against the U.S. under-17 national team, Swedish club Jonkopings Sodra and MLS sides.


The season opener is March 4 against Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium.

Steven Goff, The Washington Post

National Women's Soccer League: The Washington Spirit drafted forward Lindsay Agnew (Ohio State) with the 19th overall pick, midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard (Florida) with the 29th pick and midfielder Cameron Castleberry (North Carolina) with the 36th pick on Thursday. Dougherty Howard played for the Spirit reserves for the past two seasons, including winning the USL W-League championship in 2015.


Vermont men top UMBC in America East first-place battle

Trae Bell-Haynes scored 20 points and Vermont held off UMBC, 81-72, on Friday night for the host Catamounts' sixth consecutive victory.


The game matched two of the three teams unbeaten in America East play and gave Vermont (14-5, 4-0) its 20th straight victory over the Retrievers (12-5, 3-1), who had won three straight. The other unbeaten league team, Stony Brook (2-0), plays today.

Vermont had a 14-point lead with 12:35 remaining but UMBC cut the lead to two, 72-70 with 11/2 minutes left on Jairus Lyles' floater high off the glass. Bell-Haynes responded with his own floater, and after Lyles lost the ball out of bounds, Kurt Steidl caught a long inbounds pass on the run and completed a three-point play before adding two more free throws for a 79-72 lead with 23 seconds remaining.

Lyles scored 23 points and Will Darley (Dulaney) 22 for UMBC.

Women's basketball: Hofstra (8-6, 1-2 Colonial Athletic Association) outscored host Towson (8-7, 1-3) in the second half 48-34 en route to a 70-61 win. Raven Bankston had 14 points for the Tigers. ... Stevenson senior forward Sara Tarbert was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Region Player of the Week.

Football: Delaware named Matt Simon, the Ravens running backs coach from 1999 to 2005, offensive coordinator.

Wrestling: Navy defensive end Amos Mason, 6 feet 1, 266 pounds, began working out with the wrestling team when midshipmen returned to the academy for the spring semester. Mason was a three-time Tennessee state champion at Brentwood Academy outside Nashville. Mason competed at heavyweight and won 133 consecutive matches at one point. Coach Joel Sharratt said he does not envision that Mason will make an immediate impact but that he could eventually earn a lineup spot.


Bill Wagner, Baltimore Sun Media Group

Baseball: Maryland is No. 23 in Perfect Game's 2017 preseason rankings.

Et cetera

Severn football coach Kirchenheiter steps down

Citing an increase in his work responsibilities, Severn football coach Chris Kirchenheiter has stepped down. Kirchenheiter, who is the president of SureShip in Capitol Heights, informed the team at a meeting Jan. 6. He followed up the meeting with an email to players and parents. Kirchenheiter, a former assistant at North Carolina, coached the Admirals for six years and finished with a 32-29 (.525) record; the team was 7-33 in its previous four years.

Bob Hough, Baltimore Sun Media Group


Laurel Park: Trainer Phil Schoenthal had already planned to run defending champion Sonny Inspired in today's $75,000 Fire Plug when he landed another major contender in the 6-furlong sprint for older horses. Grade 3 winner Trouble Kid will make his first start for Schoenthal in the 22nd running of the Fire Plug, which shares top billing on the nine-race card with the $75,000 What a Summer for fillies and mares 4 and older, also at 6 furlongs.

NFL: The Denver Broncos terminated the contracts of offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani; both are former Ravens assistants.