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An Irvine native, Birnbaum had an elite soccer career at UC Berkeley as a defender, earning three straight All-Pac-12 selections and once finishing as a semi-finalist for the Hermann Trophy (college soccer’s equivalent of the Heisman).
Birnbaum then became the highest drafted Jewish player in MLS history — going 2nd overall to the D.C. United in 2014. Birnbaum has been with the United ever since, helping the 2019 squad give up the fewest goals in the entire Eastern Conference.
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