Former Gaucho Striker Thiago Martins Signed by D.C. United of the MLS

Sept. 11, 2003

Chantilly, VA - It was announced today that former UC Santa Barbara men's soccer star Thiago Martins has signed a contract with Major League Soccer's D.C. United. Martins is scheduled to be on United's gameday roster for their upcoming match against the San Jose Earthquakes this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium.

The Sao Paolo, Brazil native had just completed his third season in the A-League, spending his last season-and-a-half with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, establishing himself as the league's scoring champion this past season. A First Team All-A League selection this year, he ran up 51 total points off of 22 goals and seven assists despite missing three games mid season.

With his signing, Martins becomes the first Gaucho to sign a contract with an MLS team. While at UCSB "Thiba" earned First Team All-MPSF honors as a senior, after missing half of his junior campaign.

Martins, however, is not the only UCSB player with MLS connections, 2002 All-American Rob Friend was selected in the 2002 Superdraft by the Chicago Fire, but had already signed a professional contract with Moss FK of the Norwegian First Division. Friend's MLS rights are now held by the San Jose Earthquakes. MLS goalkeeper Joe Cannon also spent a season as a Gaucho, playing in eleven matches as a freshman in 1993.

D.C. United Technical Director Dave Kasper said of Martins, "We are very excited about this signing. Thiago is a powerful striker who has a nose for the goal. As the A-League leader in goals for Pittsburgh in the 2003 season, he has proven to be a consistent goal scorer and we hope that we will now have the same success with D.C. United."

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