Russell Canouse: DC United midfielder, real estate agent, USMNT hopeful

WASHINGTON – When D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse became an officially licensed realtor this spring, he insisted it was the fulfillment of a personal passion.

If the words “real estate” and “passion” seem oddly juxtaposed, consider Canouse’s path to pro soccer.

Now 24, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, native was just 15 when he left the New York Red Bulls' academy and joined the youth setup at TSG Hoffenheim in Germany. As he progressed through Hoffenheim’s U-19 squad, their reserve team, a brief cameo for the first team and a loan spell at VfL Bochum, that meant packing up his belongings. Over and over.

“I think that’s what [my interest] stemmed from, in Germany, being able to experience a different culture, but also like you said, having to move to different apartments,” Canouse told this week. “I think I was at probably six or seven different apartments in Germany. And having to handle those situations on my own in a different language.”

Canouse returned stateside to sign for D.C. midway through the 2017 MLS season. After the 2018 season concluded, he used the offseason to pursue his interest in helping other people make similar transitions.

Despite a publicity-grabbing Tweet from superstar teammate Wayne Rooney, Canouse isn’t looking to build out a wide portfolio just yet. But he does have a client base in mind: other professional athletes, to whom he can easily relate when life forces them to relocate.

“I think a lot of guys don’t really realize until their career is over that they have a platform where they can reach a lot of people and change a lot of people’s lives,” Canouse said. “For me, it’s possibly helping someone buy or sell a home, or helping them transition from one place to another. I think that’s one way I can use my platform now to be able to create something after my career.”

On the field, Canouse continues to be a consistent starter for the D.C., with his stellar play during the Black-and-Red’s second-half charge into the 2018 postseason helping to elevate his US National Team hopes.

Canouse earned a call into coach Gregg Berhalter's January camp, but wasn’t considered for additional spring friendlies or the recently-concluded Concacaf Gold Cup

Despite the US depth at his holding midfield position, Canouse still wants back in the fold.

“My goal is to be able to impact the game and be able to get on the team and show what I can do within the international level,” Canouse said. “Personally I’m just taking it a day at a time, trying to fine-tune things, hopefully the national team coaches and staff are watching and I can get a chance to go in and prove myself.”

As for realty, he hopes the transition from his playing career is some distance away. But if he’s still around this neck of the woods when it happens, it would be a great place to dive in.

“D.C. is an unbelievable real estate market,” Canouse said. “You have so much opportunity here, so many different types of people, different cultures. And the market is a pretty stable market, with obviously very expensive properties.

“I own a property in Lancaster, so I understand the difference and the amount of land in the amount of land I got for a property, let’s say compared to a townhome I would get here. It’s pretty incredible.”

Contributor: Ian Quillen