Former Maryland men’s soccer defender Donovan Pines signed a homegrown deal with D.C. United, the club announced on Wednesday, forgoing his final year of eligibility with the Terps.

After a national championship season, in which the Clarksville native started 22 games at center back, Pines became D.C.’s 11th homegrown signing. He reunites with another former Terps defender, Chris Odoi-Atsem, who played with Pines at Maryland in 2016.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that Pines would forgo his final season of eligibility. Pines was considering overseas options while working negotiations with D.C. United.

Ultimately, the 2018 All-Big Ten first team honoree stayed local. It remains to be seen if Pines will immediately feature in United’s first-team squad or if he’ll begin his professional career on loan with Loudoun United, D.C.’s USL affiliate.

“We have monitored Donovan’s progression at Maryland and feel he is ready to take the next step in his career,” Dave Kasper, United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said in a release. “He fits the profile of a modern MLS center back in a physically demanding league and has the technical qualities that suit our system.”

[Read more: 4 Maryland men’s soccer players selected in the first 2 rounds of the MLS SuperDraft]

Pines spent four years with D.C. United’s academy, according to the club, making 99 U.S. Soccer Development Academy appearances. He captained the Black-and-Red youth team, one that held opponents to 0.80 goals per game under Pines’ leadership.

Pines’ affiliation with the club’s academy system, by rule, made him ineligible for the MLS SuperDraft, where four of his Maryland teammates were selected in the first two rounds earlier this month.

Pines quickly emerged as one of the elite college defenders in the country despite not blossoming into a full-time starter until a month into his sophomore season in 2017. But once he earned the trust of coach Sasho Cirovski, Pines became a mainstay in the lineup and a vital piece of the eventual championship formula.

[Read more: Donovan Pines will leave Maryland men’s soccer for professional opportunities]

He played all but one game during his final season with the Terps, missing the Big Ten semifinal while nursing a concussion. But in the 22 games he did start, Pines was off the field for under four minutes.

The 6-foot-5 defender helped preserve shutouts in all five of Maryland’s NCAA tournament games. His seemingly impenetrable defense held Indiana’s Andrew Gutman and Kentucky’s JJ Williams — the winner and a runner-up of the MAC Hermann Trophy — to just four combined shots in the Terps’ quarterfinals and semifinals victories.

Pines only scored two goals during his junior campaign, but the one he scored against the Hoosiers in the College Cup sealed a 2-0 victory, two days before Maryland defeated Akron to win the program’s fourth national title.