The last time we saw Josh Wicks, he was sitting with a friend in the stands at Richard Montgomery High School this past summer watching Mason Trafford and Real Maryland play in a USL2 league fixture.
Two reasons that will not happen again: a week and a half ago, Real Maryland announced that it was self-relegating to the fourth division and will play in the USL Premier Development League in 2011 and, on Wednesday, IFK Mariehamn's addition of Josh Wicks was formally announced to a roster that already included Mr. Trafford.
My initial thoughts about Real Maryland's move to the PDL have evolved from disappointment that we will no longer be able to see third or second division soccer locally, to gratitude that Real Maryland will continue in some form and that we'll have the chance to see local PDL squads by just hopping on the metro up to Rockville.
I know more about IFK Mariehamn than I do about any PDL team, yet the DC metropolitan area is blessed by a relative abundance of PDL sides. Real Maryland will join another local new entrant, the Fredericksburg Hotspur (an hour and a half's drive away), in the mid-Atlantic Division. And both clubs will compete against a well-established side in the Northern Virginia Royals (an hour's drive away in Manassas).
It will take a little more work to get out to see Josh Wicks play. Wicks' signing was announced at the same time as IFK Mariehamn reported that the club had successfully negotiated a two-year extension of Mason Trafford's contract. Negotiations with another former Real Maryland player, Joe Funicello, are reported to be ongoing.
We're thrilled that Wicks has secured a spot at Mariehamn. He remains one of our favorites to have ever donned a DC United shirt. Wicks plays with passion and, when away from the field, showed as much enthusiasm for the game as a fan as he does as a player. He has been unfairly slated for a red card in a US Open Cup Final that he should, admittedly, not have put himself in a position to earn. But, like Louis Crayton before him, there was never any question that Wicks enjoyed playing for United and he never shied away from United's supporters.
The Aland Islands are set to welcome a heck of a player.
And, in the meantime, if anyone knows how we can kit the family out in IFK Mariehamn gear, please drop us a line.