D.C. United on Wednesday signed 20-year-old Brazilian striker Rafael as a young designated player on a one-year loan from Bahia of Brazil's Serie A, the team announced on its website.
"He is a young, talented player with solid experience with the Brazilian Serie A club Bahia," D.C. United GM Dave Kasper said in a statement. "We believe Rafael has all the qualities to be a successful striker in Major League Soccer, and we look forward to having him join us in pre-season 2013."
Rafael made 36 first-team appearances and scored 10 goals for Bahia. He represented Brazil at the 2011 Pan Am Games. The loan makes him the youngest current designated player in MLS and the second-youngest designated player signing in League history (Fabian Castillo was 18 when he signed with FC Dallas).
Rafael is expected to join D.C. United and fellow Brazilians Marcelo Saragosa and Raphael Augusto for preseason training when players report on Jan. 17.