D.C. United today announced that the club has signed Brazilian striker Rafael as a young Designated Player on loan for one year.
The 20-year old joins the Black-and-Red from Bahia of the Brazilian Serie A, where he has made 36 first-team appearances and has scored 10 goals.
The young striker is now the youngest current Designated Player in MLS at the age of 20 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 D.C. 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 pre-season 2013.”
I’m a big fan of young players joining the league and I also believe this may be the year of the Young DP in MLS. But saying that I do wonder if D.C. jumped the shark on this one a bit and signed a guy that may not be quite DP worthy just yet. In 13 Serie A games in Brazil, Rafael only played 412 minutes. Is that really DP-worthy? I’m not sure it is.