New York City FC today announced the signing of goalkeeper Alex Rando, who joins the first team on a Homegrown contract after coming up through the club’s academy and most recently playing two seasons for NYCFC II in MLS NEXT Pro.
The contract is one guaranteed year and contains options through the 2027, according to the club’s official release on the signing.
For a 22-year-old, Rando has accumulated lots of professional experience in the tiers of the American soccer pyramid below MLS. He made 32 starts across two seasons for NYCFC II, and before that made 27 starts for Las Vegas Lights FC in the USL Championship in 2021. He was coached by current LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo during that season with the Lights.
The keeper was also a part of the trophy-winning NYCFC academy teams, with Rando and his young Pigeon teammates specifically winning two U-19 U.S. Development Academy National Championships, with Rando named the 2019 U-19 Golden Glove Winner.
Rando has taken a unique path to the NYCFC first team, as summed up neatly by Travis Clark of Top Drawer Soccer.
The young keeper came through the NYCFC academy, decided to attend Stanford, transferred from Stanford to the University of Virginia, then played one season of collegiate soccer before leaving to pursue his professional career.
Alex Rando now becomes the 14th player to sign a Homegrown contract with NYCFC, his signing coming a few weeks after 15-year-old forward Zidane Yañez became NYCFC’s 13th Homegrown.
The move up to MLS for Alex Rando clears the way for another New York City academy goalkeeper named Alex, 17-year-old Alex Yagudayev, to function more as the clear-cut starting goalkeeper for NYCFC II in 2024. Yagudayev made 12 starts for NYCFC II in 2023, while Rando made 14.
Rando’s signing might also raise a question or two about the futures of the non-Matt Freese goalkeepers already on the NYCFC senior squad—Cody Mizell and Luis Barraza.
Barraza had his 2024 contract option exercised at the end of the 2023 season, and 2024 is the final year of Mizell’s contract with the club, per his bio on the team’s website. Perhaps goalkeeper is a position to monitor during the NYCFC preseason, as it might have the potential for roster spot competition for the season ahead?
News of Rando’s signing also drew out one of his most famous fans: Actor Rainn Wilson, known widely for playing Dwight Schrute in The Office. According to a 2021 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Wilson is friends with Rando’s father, a New York stage director, from their time working together while Wilson was a stage actor in the 1990s. Wilson has been acting as an outspoken admirer/hype man for Rando dating as far back as his USL Championship days.