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NCFC signs rising youth national team talent Adrian Pelayo to first pro contract

By Staff, 09/28/23, 1:45PM EDT


17-year-old defender has been called into camps with USYNT, Mexico youth national team

17-year-old defender has been called into camps with USYNT, Mexico youth national team | Image Credit: North Carolina FC

CARY, N.C. – North Carolina FC today announced the signing of 17-year-old Adrian Pelayo to a professional contract, pending league and federation approval. Pelayo was signed by North Carolina prior to the league's roster freeze last Friday.

A highly coveted prospect, Pelayo has been recently called up to the Mexico U-17 youth national team after having a previous call-up to the United States U-17 youth national team, also in 2023.  Pelayo most recently competed with the Portland Timbers Academy and earned professional experience with Portland Timbers 2 in MLS NEXT Pro, making 14 appearances with T2 between 2022 and 2023.

Pelayo participated in the Portland Timbers' first-team training camp prior to the 2023 Major League Soccer season and continued his development with the academy and T2. His call-up to the Mexican U-17 national camp next week comes ahead of the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup later this fall.

"This has been a dream of mine since I started soccer and I'm really excited to sign my first professional contract, especially at a club like NCFC," Pelayo said. "From my first day here, I really enjoyed the environment and the club’s transparency about their intentions and the vision that they have for their younger players. I don’t like thinking too much about the future, but my goal is to play in a top league and be able to live that experience and make my family proud."

"A big part of our club philosophy is providing the best path for young players to grow, develop, and prepare for their professional careers," NCFC Head Coach John Bradford said. "Our track record of having a highly competitive training environment and connections with clubs, both domestically and abroad, allows us to attract elite young talent like Adrian. His trust in us as the launching pad for his professional career is a huge validation of the success and potential of our global strategy."

Pelayo has begun training with North Carolina FC ahead of his national team commitments next week. He will then have trialist opportunities at various Liga MX teams in the following weeks. Pelayo has citizenship in Mexico, Argentina, and the United States.

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