Perry Kitchen

  • DOB February 29, 1992
  • Age 24
  • Place of birth Indianapolis, Indiana
  • POSITION Defender/Midfielder
  • HEIGHT 6'0"
  • WEIGHT 160
  • U.S. CAPS 2
  • CLUB Heart of Midlothian
  • TWITTER @PerryKitchen23 (8.62K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 31
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 42
  • Youth Experience U-20, U-23

The first thing coaches say about Perry Kitchen is that he's a leader. His U-20 coach Thomas Rongen said it. Ben Olsen, his club coach and somebody who knows a bit about leadership and hard-nosed play, said it. Caleb Porter, his college and U-23 coach, also said it. Kitchen is calm and in control both on the field and in the interview room.

Although Kitchen came up playing in the back, the U.S. lifer is better suited to a defensive midfield role. He'll organize your team, and he can use his superior vision to be in the right place. Put another way: He's a great leader, an excellent player, but his limited physical skills may be his downfall.

The former Akron star captained the U.S. U-17 team during the World Cup in Nigeria as well as the U-20 squad that failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. "It's a terrible feeling to not only let down your team, but your whole country," he told Kitchen hoped to get a taste of success as a member of the 2012 U-23 team, but that squad crashed out of the tournament early and missed the London Olympics.

Despite the setbacks he has encountered at the national level, Kitchen is playing well under Olsen's tutelage at D.C. United. The third pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft after one season of college soccer started 30 games during his rookie campaign and has been a first-choice player ever since, starting over 120 games by age 22. In 2014 Kitchen added some offense to his game, scoring more goals that season than in his first three seasons, combined.

Two questions will determine Perry’s national team future: 1) How far can his leadership skills take him? 2) Will his physical liabilities prevent him from earning a spot on the international stage? The good news is because he turned pro so young he still has time to provide his own answers to these queries.—NOAH DAVIS

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