Orange County SC signed Aaron Cervantes as a 15-year-old to be their first homegrown player, and now the 18-year-old is making a big move across the Atlantic.
Cervantes signed before the 2018 season and grew in leaps and bounds, literally, in his tenure with Orange County. After not playing for the first team in 2018, he made 11 appearances last season and five in 2020. In particular, this year he allowed just four goals in five matches while splitting time with Frederik Due.
Orange County SC and Rangers have a partnership that has already led to training stints/trials for young OCSC players in Scotland, something Cervantes has done previously, while Rangers sent three players — Cammy Palmer, Danny Finlayson, and Matthew Shiels — on loan to OCSC for the 2020 season.
This move is perhaps the biggest yet, however, on a couple fronts: It’s proof of concept for OCSC, who have seen some players sign deals in Europe in the past couple years but none who grew up locally in Southern California and came through the club, and it’s the latest wrinkle in the Orange County-Rangers partnership, providing an actual pipeline between the clubs to Scotland for promising prospects.
At Rangers, Cervantes will have his work cut out for him, with the club having three goalkeepers on the senior roster plus an additional three on loan, including Robby McCrorie, who could be Rangers’ starter of the future. Since he’s only 18, moving to a new continent and moving up overall, Cervantes is expected to go on loan once arriving in Europe.
Still, it’s a big deal for Cervantes and for Orange County SC, and it should be. We’ve seen the youngster blossom before our eyes, and the world is his, starting with this spell with Rangers. Best of luck to Aaron on his journey.
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