TRAVERSE CITY — Casey Townsend is back on the East Coast.
Returning to near where he was a collegiate star at Maryland, the Traverse City native was traded Friday from Chivas USA to D.C. United.
"He wanted to go back home," said Jason Carmien, Townsend's coach at Traverse City West. "He's got a lot of roots in Maryland. He's got a lot of friends there."
Townsend had been seeking a trade from Chivas for some time, and that finally materialized Friday when he was shipped across the country. Chivas USA received a 2014 second-round draft pick for the former Titans star, who is the only two-time Mr. Soccer selection in Michigan history.
"We were quite surprised that Casey was available for a trade and we pounced on it," D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a press release. "He is an exciting striker who brings a ton of energy to the attack, and we think he will be a great fit with our side. He is very happy to return to the D.C. Metropolitan area and we are equally excited to bring him back."
After being a first-round draft pick in 2012 (fifth overall), Townsend saw extensive action as a rookie, but didn't think he fit into the team's long-term plans, Carmien said.
Chivas' new owner — Jorge Vergara — publicly said the organization wants to emphasize Mexican players.
"The Chivas organization, they just had so much turnover that he wasn't very happy," Carmien said. "They fired their entire staff and brought in a new coach and new general manager and (Townsend) just didn't feel he was valued. He had been trying to move since the end of the season, so he was happy to get the news."
Since October, six players from last year's squad have been traded or let go — and a common denominator among them is each is not eligible for Mexican citizenship.
Vergara also owns Chivas de Guadalajara of the Mexican league, and reportedly wants players who can play for both teams.
"Especially attacking players," Carmien said. "Casey didn't feel young American attacking players were going to get as much of a chance."
The Los Angeles Times' story about the Townsend trade Friday had an online headline of "Mexican makeover continues for Chivas USA."
Townsend played in 17 games (10 starts) during his rookie year with Chivas USA, logging a goal and two assists. Chivas was 7-18-9, finishing last in the Western Conference and last overall in goals scored in the league.
Townsend started off hot, with a goal in his third professional game, but then had to deal with injuries that partially derailed his rookie season.
United was 17-10-7 last year, earning the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
United starts its preseason today against Columbus in Bradenton, Fla.
After finalizing the deal for the 23-year-old Townsend, United also announced the release of Chinese forward Long Tan, leaving 26-year-old American Chris Pontius, 29-year-old Albanian Hamdi Salihi, 31-year-old Colombian Lionard Pajoy, 20-year-old Brazilian Rafael de Souza and 16-year-old Jamaican Michael Seaton as the team's only other forwards.
D.C. travels to Chicago for June 2 and July 20 games and to Columbus for an April 27 match. Townsend returns to Los Angeles on Sept. 8 for a date against Chivas. United also has eight nationally-televised games for the upcoming season, including its March 2 opener at Houston.
"From a selfish standpoint, I'm really happy," Carmien said. "It's like an hour flight from Grand Rapids, so I can get out there more. And then he'll come to Chicago regularly and to Columbus."
D.C. United selected two picks behind Chivas in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, taking midfielder Nick DeLeon of Louisville when Townsend wasn't on the board.
In D.C., Townsend will join former Maryland teammates and defenders Taylor Kemp and Ethan White.
Townsend and White played together in 2009-10, while Kemp overlapped with Townsend from 2009-2011. Townsend and Kemp's 2011 Terps' team lost in the College Cup to 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year finalist DeLeon and Louisville. Both Townsend and DeLeon scored goals for their sides, but Louisville pulled out the 4-2 win over Maryland in the third round of the tournament.
While with Maryland for four years, Townsend scored 43 goals — third-best in Terps' history — and added 12 assists in 85 games. In 2011, Townsend was a second-team All-America selection.
"(Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski) runs — obviously I'm biased since I went there — but what I think is the most professional college environment you can be in," Kemp said on DCUnited.com. "He makes you ready to be in the pros better than I think any other coach."
Maryland has had a player selected in the MLS SuperDraft for 10 straight years.
"Maryland has a great program and we're lucky to be close to them, so we see a lot of quality college games," United head coach Ben Olsen said on the team's website.
TC West grad back on East Coast for second-round pick
TRAVERSE CITY — Casey Townsend is back on the East Coast.
Teams focus on ending season with titles
The girls will crown four state champions Saturday. The boys will be down to the Elite Eight in each class Wednesday night. March Madness is heading down the home stretch.Continued ...
TC West JV wins state title
The Traverse City West junior varsity won a state powerlifting championship Saturday at Whitmore Lake.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/09/2014
Weber receives scholarship; Bellaire’s Emery commits to Albion; Girls hoops travel tryouts March 16. (Plus more)Continued ...
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Titans stun Alpena, 61-47
Traverse City West has a regional date with Mount Pleasant on Monday.Continued ...
Gladiators hold off Manton
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Loney scores 33, sparks Frankfort to a district crown
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State Prep Boys Basketball Scores: 03/08/2014
Boys high school basketball scores for district tournament games played on Friday, March 7:Continued ...
- Friday, March 7, 2014
High School Sports Scoreboard: 03/07/2014
A roundup of scores from today's boys district basketball tournament games:Continued ...
Panthers roar in regional final
Tim Reznich is hoping Frankfort can have a reunion with Nicole Marshall. And history says the Panthers may very well do that.Continued ...
Frankfort coach elected president of coach association
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McBain captures Class C regional title
McBain rebounded from a poor shooting performance in the first half to overtake Beaverton and secure a 61-44 decision Thursday in a Class C girls regional championship game.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/07/2014
Coach Mike Krzyzewski is out of the hospital and at practice with No. 4 Duke after feeling light-headed during a loss at Wake Forest. (Plus more)Continued ...
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State Prep Basketball Scores: 03/07/2014
Michigan high school basketball scores for games played Thursday, March 7:Continued ...
- Thursday, March 6, 2014
Frankfort, McBain win regional titles
The No. 3-ranked Frankfort Panthers secured a Class D girls basketball regional championship tonight, defeating Bellaire 61-33.Continued ...
Titans roll into district finals
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Bullough's return propels Gladiators past McBain
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Alpena starts fast, cruises past Central
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Boys Basketball Roundup: Manton rallies to beat Lake City
Manton (10-11) rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge visiting Lake City 56-55 in a Class C district semifinal clash and earn a berth in Friday’s district title game with Traverse City St. Francis.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/06/2014
Frankfort's Reznich elected president of BCAM; Boating safety class set.Continued ...
Today in Sports: 03/06/2014
What's happening in sports across the region and the nation:Continued ...
- Teams focus on ending season with titles