SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed 14-year-old goalkeeper Emmanuel ‘Emi’ Ochoa to a Homegrown Player contract. At 14 years and 191 days, Ochoa is the second youngest player to ever sign a professional contract in Major League Soccer (Freddy Adu – 14 years, 168 days) and is the youngest to sign a Homegrown Player contract.
Ochoa is the eighth product of the Quakes Academy to sign with the first team, and seventh since December of 2016. He is one of five Homegrown players on the Earthquakes roster currently under 18 years of age, joining Jacob Akanyirige (17), Gilbert Fuentes (17), Casey Walls (16) and Cade Cowell (16). No other team in MLS has more than two players currently under 18.
“The work we have done to prepare ourselves for the future at the goalkeeping position gave us an opportunity to offer a contract to Emi, even at his young age,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “We have established players we are going to lean on for 2020 and the years to come, which will allow Emi to develop at his own pace with achievable goals year over year, including ones from an academic and life perspective.
“Emi plays with a technical ability and confidence well beyond his age and is one of the top prospects in the youth national team system. He has already worked extensively with our goalkeeper coach Carlos Roa and we have put a personalized development plan in place to ensure the best learning environment for him moving forward.”
Ochoa, of Mexican descent, began his youth career at his hometown club El Camino FC before joining the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy and later the Quakes Academy. He currently competes for San Jose’s U-15 squad and has previously represented the U.S. National Team at the U-14 and U-15 levels.
The native of Salinas, Calif. is currently rated by Top Drawer Socceras the nation’s No. 1 goalkeeper for the Class of 2023. He is the first teenage goalkeeper to sign a professional contract with the Earthquakes.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – Earthquakes sign 14-year-old GK Emmanuel Ochoa to a Homegrown Player contract.
Weight: 150 lbs.
Born: May 5, 2005
Preferred Foot: Left
Hometown: Salinas, Calif.
Last Club: Quakes Academy U-15
Roster Designation: Homegrown, Domestic