NYCFC makes Joe Scally, 15, second youngest to sign MLS contract
New York City FC signed 15-year-old academy product Joe Scally to a professional contract on Wednesday, making him the second-youngest player ever with an MLS deal after Freddy Adu.
Scally, who turned 15 on New Year's Eve, is about 10 months older than Adu was when he signed as a 14-year-old with D.C. United in 2004.
The wing-back is also nine days younger than Gianluca Busio was when he signed with Sporting Kansas City last August.
Even before turning 15, Scally started three friendlies for the United States under-17 team last year against the youth sides of England, Netherlands and Brazil.
"Joe is a really young prospect in our football club, he has really good pace, he's good at going forward and his quality will fit really well with the way we want to play," NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said. "I know that he's really young but I think signing his first professional contract is really good for the club and for him -- he deserves it, he's got the talent.
"He's spent time with the first-team and I like his engine going forward and I like his strong personality which is really impressive for someone so young."
Scally, who becomes NYCFC's second-ever homegrown player, will finish his school year -- he's a freshman at Sachem North High School -- before joining first-team training with NYCFC this summer.
"It's a dream come true for me, I've wanted to be a professional soccer player ever since I was a little kid and to get to do it right here at home in New York, at this club, makes it extra special," he told NYCFC's website. "It was an easy decision, there are so many great professional coaches and players here who can help me improve every aspect of my game.
"Preseason was a really good time where I learned so much about how to be a professional player, on and off the field, and of course the game is so much quicker, so you have to learn fast.
"The Academy coaches always pushed me by playing me above my age group against better, older, more physical players and that really helped me when I came to train with the first-team for the first time. Now I just have to keep working hard, so that I can play at Yankee Stadium for the first time."
In addition to Busio, Scally joins three other players born in 2002 in signing pro MLS deals, after Atlanta United's George Bello, the LA Galaxy's Efrain Alvarez and the San Jose Earthquakes' Gilbert Fuentes.
If MLS teams do not sign their academy products to professional contracts, the players are able to sign with foreign clubs once they turn 18 without a transfer fee or training compensation, as Atlanta's Zyen Jones and the Red Bulls' Chris Gloster did in moving to Germany in recent weeks.