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NYCFC sign Zidane Yañez to Homegrown contract

The 15-year-old Chilean-Puerto-Rican-American academy prospect will become the 13th Homegrown player in NYCFC history.

This post, originally published December 1, 2023, was updated on December 23, 2023after NYCFC announced the Yañez signing. 

Zidane Yãnez, a 15-year-old Chilean-American prospect in the New York City FC youth academy, has signed a Homegrown contract with the senior team. 

The contract, first reported by Tom Bogert of The Athletic on December 1, is through 2028 and includes an option for the 2029 season.

Yañez becomes NYCFC’s lucky 13th Homegrown player signing since 2017, when James Sands was the very first Homegrown signed in club history. 

As Bogert’s tweet breaking the news pointed out, Yañez is eligible to represent three countries at the international level—the United States, Chile, and Puerto Rico. He was playing with a United States youth squad as recently as November, but also appears to have made his youth debuts for Chile and Puerto Rico in 2023.

Like Yañez, two of NYCFC’s other highly-touted Homegrown teens, Christian McFarlane and Maximo Carrizo, are subject to much dual-national speculation. Both those players have made appearances for United States youth national teams, but also for the youth teams of England and Argentina, respectively, leading to some online hand-wringing over their national team futures.

Another point of interest on young Zidane Yañez: He was once a member of the Red Bulls academy, playing and scoring goals for the Red Bull U-14s as recently as October 2020. He switched sides of the academy version of the Hudson River Derby back in the summer of 2021, and now will formally graduated to the NYCFC first-team. 

The signing of Yañez comes months after NYCFC’s most recent Homegrown addition, defender Drew Baiera, who inked a contract back in July that runs through 2027. 

Attacking players like Yañez have been less common Homegrown signings for NYCFC, with the likes of Sands, Tayvon Gray, Joe Scally, and Justin Haak known more for their work in the defensive areas of the pitch. Yañez will look to join Andres Jasson as the only attackers to graduate from the NYCFC academy and make an impact in MLS. 

That break-through rate for Homegrown players cracking that NYCFC first-team has slowed in recent years. Carrizo, McFarlane, Baiera, and Jonathan Shore all recently signed Homegrown deals and each logged heavy workloads with NYCFC II in MLS NEXT Pro in 2023. None have made their debuts with the NYCFC senior squad, and Zidane Yañez now joins them as another highly-talented teenager looking to break through at the top professional level.