WASHINGTON — D.C. United homegrown player Chris Durkin is headed to Europe.
The 19-year-old defensive midfielder joins Belgian First Division A team Sint-Truidense V.V. on loan through June 2020, the clubs announced Friday.
“Over the past two seasons with D.C. United, Chris has managed to gain valuable first team minutes,” United general manager Dave Kasper said. “We feel he is now ready to test himself in Europe in a very competitive league. We are confident Chris will adapt quickly and show his quality and we will be monitoring his progress closely.”
Sint-Truidense has an option to buy Durkin for a transfer fee close to $2.25 million, and D.C. would retain a 20 percent stake in the midfielder, according to the Washington Post.
This is not the first time Durkin has drawn interest from abroad. Earlier this season United rejected a bid from German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, first reported by The Athletic.
Durkin signed his first professional contract with United at 16 years old on June 14, 2016. He made his debut later that year in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Durkin started 23 of 36 games played with United over three seasons. Filling in as the holding midfielder in the absence of an injured Russell Canouse in 2018, Durkin played 1,503 minutes and recorded an assist. He scored his first Major League Soccer goal in April against the Colorado Rapids. He also spent the 2019 summer representing the United States under-20 men’s national team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Durkin last played in United’s 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union Aug. 4. He came off in the 16th minute with an ankle injury. Prior to the loan announcement, Durkin was training on the side of United practices. With Durkin gone, D.C. has Júnior Moreno, Felipe Martins and Canouse as options in the defensive midfielder role.