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United pens Willis to deal as third keeper and names McCarty captain.

D.C. United announced the signing of Joe Willis on Wednesday, locking up a third keeper for the upcoming 2011 MLS season.

“We are pleased that Joe is officially part of our club,” said General Manager Dave Kasper in a release. “He provides a physical presence in goal and we are excited about his future.”

Willis was selected by United in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. The 'keeper from the University of Denver was picked 50th overall, in the the third round. He has signed with United to be the third option, behind Pat Onstad and Bill Hamid for now. However, with Hamid still recovering from shoulder surgery, Willis might make the bench for United's first game of the season on Saturday.

Willis was a three-time First Team All-Conference net-minder in 2008, 2009, and 2010 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for Denver. In his senior season, Willis played 12 times, recording four clean sheets. He is known for his physical presence in goal, as he stands at 6'5''.

After a year of uncertainty in goal in 2010, United looked to solidify their situation in 2011 by trading Troy Perkins for Steve Cronin in the offseason. Cronin was slated to start the first game for United before he broke his wrist during the preseason. Manager Ben Olsen then coaxed recently retired Pat Onstad to sign a short term contract to play for United while Cronin recovers. Onstad is also the goalkeeper coach for United.

In other D.C. news, Ben Olsen officially named newly-signed Dax McCarty as the team captain at a team kickoff luncheon. The United States international midfielder arrived at the capital club via a trade with the Portland Timbers after being nabbed from FC Dallas in the expansion draft. McCarty is 23 years old.

For more D.C. United and MLS news, follow Steven Streff on Twitter @streffsoccer

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