- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

When goalie Troy Perkins joined D.C. United in 2004 as an undrafted rookie, he worked in a sports store to supplement his $800 a month salary. He will make more than 100 times that amount in soccer this year.

Perkins, the reigning MLS goalkeeper of the year, signed a contract extension yesterday. MLS has a policy of not disclosing details concerning contracts, but a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press that the goalkeeper will make about $90,000 in 2007. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Perkins made $29,400 last year.

“It was what they felt they wanted to give me and what I felt I should get,” said Perkins, who is with the team training in Bradenton, Fla. “The standard two-year MLS contract with a [league] option on another two years.”

Perkins, 25, still works a second job and will continue to do so at First National Bank of Arizona in Vienna, where he has been promoted to a project specialist. He will go to the bank in the afternoons after training and be able to get in some work from home or while the team is on the road.

“They have taken care of me, and I will honor my work with them,” Perkins said.

With Nick Rimando, United’s highest paid goalie for the last five years, now with the New York Red Bulls, the starting job is Perkins’ to lose. Jay Nolly, Ryan McIntosh and Shawn Crowe are the other goalies with the team.

“You never know who is coming up behind you,” said Perkins, who also is in the U.S. team player pool. “It’s like any business. You have to constantly come to work with the right attitude every day.”

Rimando, who was the starter in 2005, was injured in the preseason last year, and Perkins, a graduate from Evansville, claimed the starting role while missing just two games. He led the league in wins (15) and earned eight shutouts.

“He is a determined young goalkeeper who is far from reaching his true potential, and we look forward to many years with Troy having a significant role with our club,” United technical director Dave Kasper said.

Perkins will see his first competitive play in 2007 on Wednesday when United travels to Honduras to meet CD Olimpia in the first round of the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.

“This is a huge game for us,” Perkins said. “I’ve heard flying into there can be a disaster. It’s not a friendly environment to play in, but we have to look at it being a good lesson.”

This season, Perkins may find himself dealing with shots from David Beckham, when the Los Angeles Galaxy visit RFK Stadium on Aug. 9.

“I think we owe the Galaxy one,” Perkins said. “As for facing Beckham, you have to position yourself right, but if he hits a good one, you just have to do your best to deal with it. I’ve taken crosses from him before when we played Real Madrid last year.”

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