The Red Bulls did not let this one get away.
New York announced the signing of 17-year-old forward Juan Agudelo on Friday. The Colombian native had a strong preseason and is considered the top prospect of the Red Bulls’ youth academy.
Agudelo joins Giorgi Chirgadze as homegrown players on the club's 2010 roster. League rules allow for two such spots which do not count toward the salary budget or 24-man roster limit. Agudelo, a former U.S. U-17 player and current member of the U-20 pool, came on as a substitute in the Red Bull Arena opener against Santos on March 20.
Prospects in prior years had escaped the club. Agudelo had previously trialed with Colombian club Millonarios. However, he opted for New York, where he has been a member of the youth academy since 2007.
"It's amazing, because yesterday when I was signing the papers I was thinking now it's official,'' Agudelo told the New York Post. "Now I'm with this team for four years, and this is something I wanted to be since I was little and now it's official.''
Part of his arrangement with the Red Bulls is that they will assist him in continuing his education. It will be well worth it for the Red Bulls if Agudelo’s on-field potential is realized.
“Juan is certainly a player to watch out for in the future,” General Manager Erik Soler said in a club statement. “His physical and technical ability for someone of his age is impressive and he had a very strong preseason.”