DC United will retain Brazilian playmaker Fred and he will return to the club to play under new coach Curt Onalfo.

The former Melbourne Victory championship-winning midfielder has had interruptions in recent times but is set to again become a key player for the Washington-based MLS outfit.

"I like him a lot," said Onalfo. "Obviously, he had some personal issues to deal with last year [father's death, child's operation] and probably didn't play to his potential.

"Having said that, I like his qualities. I think he can be a very effective attacking playmaker or a wide player. We're going to look at him in both of those spots and look forward to him having a positive year for us."

Fred joined DC in 2007 and has appeared over 70 times in the league.