- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 25, 2006

Former Maryland midfielder Domenic Mediate appears set to sign with D.C. United.

Mediate, who played with the Columbus Crew last season, trained with United yesterday and will travel with the team to Madrid tomorrow for a preseason tour. A United official said only signed players will travel with the team to Spain.

A speedy two-way player, Mediate had 27 goals and 17 assists in 80 games at Maryland (2001-04). He was drafted by the Crew as the 23rd overall pick in 2005 but played in only 11 games in Columbus, making four starts and scoring one goal.

Mediate, 23, says he was released by the Crew a few weeks ago. Wanting to play for United, he called up his old coach at Maryland, Sasho Cirovski, who put him in touch with the club.

“A deal [with United] is in the makings. Right now I’m waiting for it, so I can get it signed,” Mediate said yesterday.

While he was at Maryland, Mediate trained with United a number of times.

“They are familiar with my background and comfortable bringing me in,” Mediate said. “I’m really excited, because this is a team in contention for a title every year.”

The Southlake, Texas, native is a versatile player who can play as a forward, midfielder or defender. In United’s 3-5-2 formation he likely will fight for an outside-midfield role.

“D.C. is a deep team and its going to be tough to work my way in, but I will give it my best shot,” said Mediate, who earned a degree in kinesiology in 31/2 years at Maryland.

“He’s an explosive type of player who might fit in with this team,” United veteran Ben Olsen said. “He’s a local boy, so he knows how to get to practice.”

Fly Emirates — English Premier League club Arsenal has signed the biggest sponsorship in British soccer history with the Dubai-based Emirates Airline worth more than $178 million.

Arsenal’s new $800 million stadium in London, which the team will move into next season, will be named Emirates Stadium for the next 15 years. The airline also will be the club’s shirt sponsor and ‘Fly Emirates’ will replace the cell phone company ‘O2’ on the players shirts for the next five seasons. Fly Emirates ended its allegiance to Chelsea to take on Arsenal, one of the world’s biggest club’s and the 10th richest.

Fly Emirates is also one of the 12 official sponsor partners of the 2006 World Cup, up there with Budweiser and Coca-Cola.

Power of words — There’s a controversy between D.C. United and Real Salt Lake over what United coach Peter Nowak may have said when referring to a Caribbean player last week in Florida. The MLS is investigating the incident. While they are at it, the MLS should think about cleaning up some of the foul language in the game.

I know it’s not easy in the heat of the moment. After being kicked in the shins a few times, I haven’t always responded with the Queen’s English. These days, however, you can’t watch a game on TV without constantly lip reading a smorgasbord of expletives.

I remember squirming in my seat at a D.C. United training session as a tirade of expletives echoed around the field, and wondering what Freddy Adu’s mother sitting near me was thinking, as she watched over her 14-year-old son.

Last year Manchester United star Wayne Rooney was banned for appearing at a national school soccer function because of his bad habits. The England ace was caught on camera using an expletive 20 times in a tirade against a referee. Since then, referees have been told to crack down on such abuse. Call me a prude, but the players can be more polite, or at least give it a try.

Notes — U.S. coach Bruce Arena has named 11 European-based players to the 20-man roster for the U.S. team’s game against Poland in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Wednesday, including Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Gregg Berhalter, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector, DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey and Brian McBride. … The U.S. team will play Jamaica in a World Cup warmup match on April11 at SAS Park in Cary, N.C. … Former Maryland star Marc Burch has signed a developmental contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

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