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Former American University star Avery John is back in Washington again, this time with D.C. United. But he isn't quite ready for a reunion with all his local friends, coaches and acquaintances in the area at a match. He's let most of them know he wants to focus on finding a place in his new team first.

"Just give me some time to settle in again, and let me just focus on playing, getting ready," said John, 33, who hasn't played a competitive match since December and is probably a couple weeks away from the fitness level he needs to suit up for United in a match. He was last in MLS with New England in 2007, and last season with Miami in USL-1. This offseason, he said that prior to discussions with more than one MLS team, he was weighing offers in Australia and China, but nothing ever materialized.

"I’ve traveled," said John. "I’ve been in different countries and things like that so the whole idea of looking for a new challenge in a different country, it wasn’t like I have to do it or I want to do it."

He also expressed excitement with the growth and expansion of MLS. (Apparently, he hasn't seen attendance figures....)

John is a logical pick to play left back in D.C.'s 3-5-2 formation as he's better defensively than Marc Burch or Rodney Wallace, but he knows he's not entitled to it.

"Make no mistake, you have to work for your pick," he said. "It’s not like you’re coming in here, 'Oh, you’re a senior guy, you’ve been in the league, you’ve been in the World Cup.' It's not like that. I never think like that. Every year I want to try to improve. Every year I want to be the new guy, like, 'Who’s this.' Even though I’ve been here, you always want to have that kind of presence. You always want to look forward to having another good season or better season. That’s a drive any player would want and should have."

He's also not focused on getting back into the Trinidad & Tobago national team, which hosts Costa Rica in the next round of World Cup qualifying matches on June 6.

"As much as I want to be part of the national team," said John, "I can’t think about the game on the sixth. I’m here right now. I have to take care of myself, get into the team, and then once you’re performing, let your feet do the talking, the opportunity will come. I need to do this now and not think about the World Cup qualifying games."

So, the plan for DCU?

"Here, it's getting the fitness back," said John, "getting to know the guy’s names and everybody’s role, and strengths and weaknesses, and trying to apply yourself to that but not changing your ability or what you’re going to bring. You want to fit in with the chemistry and everything like that, and you want to be part of the team that will help improve and go on to win the league and other championships."