DC United signs former Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich

D.C. United signed Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich Thursday, becoming the club’s third designated player heading into the 2023 season.

Klich, 32, signed a two-year deal with the Black and Red through 2024, with an option in 2025. He can join the club for preseason once he receives a visa. He becomes United’s third designated player — high-priced talents whose wages don’t entirely count against a team’s salary cap — joining striker Christian Benteke and attacker Taxi Fountas.

Klich is expected to speak to the media about his signing on Friday.

“Mateusz is a first-rate midfielder who will add top-level experience to our roster,” United head coach Wayne Rooney said in a statement. “I’ve been watching him since he helped lead Leeds to promotion to the Premier League; and his vision, range of passing, and scoring ability will be a huge asset for us this season.”

D.C. United signs Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich as its third designated player. (Courtesy DC United/Hannah Wagner)

The midfielder spent the last six years playing for Leeds United of England, becoming a fan favorite as the West Yorkshire side climbed the soccer pyramid, earning promotion to the English Premier League in 2020.

This season, Klich has been relegated to the bench for the Whites, amassing only three starts since August. After Leeds’ 2-2 draw against West Ham United on Jan. 4, he received an ovation from the home fans in his last game prior to the English side confirming his departure.

During his time with Leeds, he scored 24 goals and recorded 21 assists in 195 matches across all competitions.

He previously played in Germany for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg and Kaiserslautern of 2. Bundesliga, as well as Twente and Utrecht of the Eredivisie, the top league in the Netherlands.

Klich has also played with the Polish national team, making 41 appearances, scoring two goals and adding 41 assists to his international resume.

Known more as a provider, Klick will look to be a connecting link from midfield to United’s attackers, who scored a league-low 36 goals.

“Bringing in a top-class designated player was atop our priority list and Mateusz has played at the highest levels for both club and country,” club president Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He will add a ton of experience in the midfield and will be an impact player for us this season and beyond. We’re excited to welcome him to the Nation’s Capital.”

Klich arrived to D.C. over the weekend to take his physical before his signing with the club, The Washington Post reported. He was seen at the Washington Wizards basketball game Tuesday night and took a photo with play-by-play announcer Dave Johnson, which was later tweeted out by former Wizards player and fellow countryman Marcin Gortat.

Klich is the latest signing this offseason by United, who overhauled its roster following a last-place finish in 2022. D.C. added goalkeepers Tyler Miller and Alex Bono and midfielder Pedro Santos in MLS free agency while completing trades for Derrick Williams (Los Angeles Galaxy) and right back Ruan (Orlando).

It also signed defender and Iraqi international Mohanad Jeahze from Hammarby IF from the Swedish first division.

United starts its preseason on Feb. 1, taking on Charlotte FC and Vancouver Whitecaps as part of the Coachella Valley Invitational in Indio, California. The Black and Red’s season begins on Feb. 25 at home against Toronto FC.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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