- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2002

On draft day, when most teams looked toward their future, D.C. United returned to its past.
United yesterday reacquired U.S. national team midfielder Richie Williams in a trade with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars for veteran midfielder/defender Brian Kamler and future considerations.
In a salary cap move, United dealt defender Carey Talley to the Kansas City Wizards for future considerations.
Coming into yesterday's Major League Soccer SuperDraft, United coach Ray Hudson said the team needed more bite in its defensive midfield. The fiery Williams certainly fits the bill.
Williams, who United traded to the MetroStars during last year's SuperDraft as part of a roster purge, brings toughness and a winning mentality back to the team. Of Williams' six MLS seasons, he has played on only one team the 2000 United squad that failed to reach the playoffs.
"Richie brings tenacity, he's clean with the ball and he's a quick player to the ball," Hudson said. "Each time we played New York last season, he was their best player. I always hated shaking his hand after a game. We need that driving storm in the middle. It's a great bonus that he's returning to his "spiritual" home. He'll be our link between the forwards and the defense."
The 31-year-old Williams was an integral part of United's three MLS Cup titles (1996, 1997 and 1999). For five seasons (1996-2000), the 5-foot-5 man-marker was the glue of United's midfield and becomes reunited with star playmaker Marco Etcheverry.
During United's glory years, Williams' job was shutting down the opposition's central playmaker an assignment the ball-winner has done very well. So well, in fact, the diminutive midfielder is firmly entrenched in U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena's player pool for June's World Cup in Korea and Japan.
"My god, he's a national team player, that speaks volumes," Hudson said. "That's not a birthright, he's had to earn that."
Before the draft, it was believed United would dangle some of its eight draft picks to trade for a veteran holding midfielder. Obviously, the club didn't need to. With their first-round selection (fourth overall), United selected 17-year-old midfielder Justin Mapp.
Mapp, who is the first player from Mississippi to sign with MLS, is a left-footed winger with great skill. A mainstay on the U.S. Under-17 national team, Mapp is a Project-40 player and will not count against United's roster or salary cap. By drafting Mapp, Kamler, a left-footed utility player, became expendable.
"I was surprised he was still there," Hudson said of Mapp. "He's still learning the game. I can put in what God left out."
With the 11th overall pick, United surprisingly took unheralded defender Daouda Kante of Florida International. Last season when Hudson was running the defunct Miami Fusion, he drafted Kante in the sixth round (64th overall). Kante, who is originally from Mali, wanted to finish his studies at FIU last season before committing to a full-time soccer career.
At 6-2 and 180 pounds, Hudson calls Kante "a chiseled in marble" defender who can play anywhere across the back. Kante is classified as a transitional international and will not count against United's roster or salary cap.
United nabbed backup goalkeeper Mike McGinty with the 24th overall pick. McGinty, who has trained with the club all offseason and during this training camp, played for the A-League's Richmond Kickers last season. McGinty currently serves as Virginia's goalkeeping coach.
United got a steal in the third round when the club selected SMU forward Mohammed Fahim with the 31st overall pick. Fahim, an Egyptian Olympic standout, was projected to go in the draft's first round but fell hard. The 23-year-old transitional international was a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, recognizing America's top college soccer player.
United picked up two players in the fourth round. With the 40th overall pick, United chose Rutgers forward Dennis Ludwig. Two picks later, United took American defender Bob Brennan with the 42nd overall selection.


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