WASHINGTON, D.C. January 9, 2013 — He’s young, and he’s Brazilian and he comes with the designated player player title. D.C. United made a bold decision on Tuesday, signing Brazilian striker Rafael as a “young Designated Player” on loan for one year. Rafael, 20, joins the United from Bahia of the Brazilian Serie A, where he has made 36 first-team appearances and has scored 10 goals.
Designated players typically over the years in Major League Soccer (players earning large salaries and not included in a team’s salary cap) have been famous names, usually over 30 years of age, like David Beckham and Thierry Henry.
Rafael is now the youngest current designated player in MLS and the second-youngest designated player signing in league history (Fabian Castillo was 18 when he signed with FC Dallas).
“We are very excited to have reached a deal to bring Rafael to D.C. United on a one-year loan with a view to a permanent transfer,” said United general manager Dave Kasper. “He is a young, talented player with solid experience with the Brazilian Serie A club Bahia. We believe Rafael has all the qualities to be a successful striker in Major League Soccer, and we look forward to having him join us in preseason 2013.”
Rafael has represented his native country of Brazil at very high levels, including most recently at the 2011 Pan-American games.
Rafael will join United and fellow Brazilians Marcelo Saragosa and Raphael Augusto for preseason training when players report on January 17.
The details on Rafael
Name: Rafael Teixeira de Souza
Goes by: “Rafael”
Weight: 179 lbs.
Birthplace: Água Boa, Minas Gerais Brazil
Previous Club: Bahia (Brazil)
Acquired: Signed as a designated player on loan on 1/9/2013 from Bahia of Brazil’s Serie A
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
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