Orange County SC announced the signing of midfielder Victor Pineda on Friday, ahead of the 2017 USL season.
Pineda, 23, joins the team with considerable experience in American pro soccer. Signed as the Chicago Fire’s first Homegrown player in 2010, at 17, he ultimately made just four MLS appearances for the club, all substitute appearances in 2014.
Sent on loan to NASL side Indy Eleven during the 2014 season, Pineda ultimately signed a permanent deal with them after he was released by the Fire, and played the 2015 season in Indy, getting regular playing time for the first time in his career. Last season, he moved to fellow NASL team Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, once again playing regularly, but ultimately losing his job there with the team going dormant for the current season.
In Orange County, Pineda reunites with former teammate Logan Pause, who is now OCSC’s head coach.
“I’ve known Victor for a long time, both as a player and a person and he will instantly have an impact in what we are building. His experience will serve us and our group well,” said Pause in a statement on the signing.
The fact that Pause opted to bring in Pineda, who he saw as a fledgling professional in Chicago, seems to be a good sign for the midfielder’s prospects. The Fire have not had a good track record in recent years of actually bringing through young players to success in the first team, despite having a well-stocked academy, and Pineda’s inability to stick with the Fire at the MLS level may not be much of an indictment, if any, on him and his potential. Still 23, he’s got an opportunity to show USL what he can contribute.
Pineda is the 10th player announced for Orange County SC’s roster so far this preseason, and the trend for the roster is obvious: Young players full of promise, who have been signed to pro clubs but on the whole not given a big chance to actually play competitive minutes for those teams. For Orange County SC, they likely will get plenty of playing time, and a chance to show if they have developed enough to get a look by OCSC’s MLS affiliate club, Los Angeles Football Club, for 2018.
As it stands, the 2017 roster is less than half filled for Orange County, at least as far as announcements, so expect plenty more in the weeks to come.
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