Orange County SC announced the signing of 15-year-old goalkeeper Aaron Cervantes on Thursday for the 2018 season. Cervantes is the youngest signing in team history and one of the youngest players in USL history to sign a professional deal.
Cervantes, a Chino Hills native, becomes a pro after playing for local youth powerhouse Pateadores SC since last summer. Prior to that, he had been a member of the LA Galaxy academy and has received previous call-ups to U.S. Youth National Teams, including the U-17 YNT.
In announcing the signing, Orange County emphasized the fact that they were signing a local youngster, something that has been a stated aim for the team since James Keston bought the team in the summer of 2016.
”The signing of Aaron is a huge first step towards creating the ‘pathway to professional soccer’ in Orange County that I have spoken about since the day I purchased the team 18 months ago,” said Keston in a team statement. “We expect Aaron to be the first of many young Southern California players with world-class talent to be signed by OCSC and given the opportunity to prove themselves against top level professionals. We did not sign Aaron to join an Academy or to sit on the bench…we signed him because we expect him to earn a spot and play on our first team.”
Cervantes becomes the third goalkeeper on Orange County’s roster for the 2018 season, joining the returning Casey Beyers and New York City FC loanee Andre Rawls.
“It is very exciting to be working with such a young talent like Aaron! I had the privilege to work with him for two years when he was 11-12 years old. I am very proud of the progress he has made in such a short period of time. You could see his potential with his work rate and dedication,” said Orange County SC head coach Braeden Cloutier. “Even though he is only 15, he fits right in with the senior experienced pros! He is just at the beginning of this amazing journey and still has a tremendous amount to learn, but if he continues to work hard and learn from Victor and Frans, the skies the limit for him! (sic)”
Orange County open their season on Saturday at home against Phoenix Rising FC.
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