LAFC announced on Monday they have signed LAFC academy product Christopher Jaime to an MLS Next Pro contract for the 2023 season. Jaime is the first player to sign a deal with LAFC’s new reserve team, which will launch next year.
“This is a significant moment for our club as a next step in our professional pathway for our young, talented academy players like Chris,” said LAFC Co-President and General Manager John Thorrington in a team statement. “It is testament to the hard work of everyone involved – our technical staff, scouts, and coaches but particularly speaks to the sacrifices made by Chris and his family. We are pleased to see Christopher continue to develop in our system as one of the players on our inaugural MLS Next Pro roster.”
The midfielder, a San Diego County native, joined the LAFC academy in 2021. He signed a USL Academy contract with Las Vegas Lights FC this summer, to allow him to play a certain number of games for that club but maintain his NCAA eligibility. He then signed a professional deal to continue to play with the Lights last month. With Las Vegas, he has played in 20 games so far this season, most of them off the bench.
MLS Next Pro launched this year as the official MLS reserve league and a Division III league in the American men’s soccer pyramid. LAFC were one of several teams that opted to wait to launch their own team and continue a partnership with a USL side this year. Next year, they will enter the new league with their own team. While Jaime is not on an MLS Homegrown deal, his signing could indicate he may be a candidate to sign a deal eventually with the LAFC first team, if his development continues to progress.
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