New York City FC confirmed defender Christian McFarlane to a homegrown contract at only 14 years and seven months old, making him the third-youngest player to sign a first-team contract in MLS history.
McFarlane is a direct result of the club’s academy, joining three years ago and most recently featuring for the Under-17 side.
“It is always an exciting moment when we sign talented players from the New York area who have developed through our system, and we’re really excited for Christian and his family," sporting director David Lee said in a club statement. “Christian initially came into our U-12 group and he has developed quickly through the Academy.
"He is at an earlier stage of his development than our previous Academy signings and initially will continue to train and play with our U-17 team, but we are excited that he has committed to become a professional at this young age. There is a development plan in place for him over the coming years and we are looking forward to supporting his development to maximize his potential.”
McFarlane is originally from Basildon, England but moved to New York City at the age of three, growing up in Queens and Long Island.
“This is a very proud moment for me and my family and I’d like to thank everyone at NYCFC for the hard work and for believing that I will continue to improve," McFarlane said. "I am ambitious and will work hard every day, but I know it will take time to make an impact on such a talented team. Since a very young age, it has been a dream of mine to be a professional soccer player, and there is so much I want to achieve in the game. I don’t think I could be in a better place to continue my development and achieve my dreams.”
The defender is now NYCFC’s sixth academy product to sign a first-team contract, following in the footsteps of James Sands, who now plays an active role in the success of US men's national team at just 21 years old.
“It really motivates me seeing [James] play,” said McFarlane. ‘’It is not just about the way he plays on the pitch, but the way he conducts himself with such professionalism off it. One day, I also hope to set an example for others to follow.”