SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes have signed 15-year-old midfielder Gilbert Fuentes to a Homegrown Player contract. He becomes the youngest-ever signing by San Jose, taking the distinction from defender Jacob Akanyirige, who signed with the club last month shortly before turning 16.
Fuentes is also the second-youngest player currently in MLS (SKC – Gianluca Busio) and the ninth-youngest player to sign a professional contract in Major League Soccer history.
“Signing Gilbert to a Homegrown contract was a priority for us and I would like to thank the Fuentes family, agent Rob Moore, MLS and our entire staff in the youth development area for their commitment to get this done,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “At just 15 years old, he has quickly separated himself from his peers thanks to a strong technical ability and high soccer IQ, which has garnered the attention of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“We wanted to create a support system and mentoring program around him and Jacob that allows them to be welcomed and challenged for years to come, whether it be socially, scholastically, physically or mentally by having them join the First Team squad. We are confident that the more veteran players and staff in our locker room will provide the ideal environment for them to grow to their full potential.”
Fuentes joined the Quakes’ U-15 squad from Ballistic United SC in 2016. Despite age-eligibility for the U-17s during the 2017-18 academy season, he has been competing solely for the U-19s and has scored three goals in eight games so far this year.
The native of Tracy, Calif. has been a regular with the United States Youth National Team system. After competing extensively with the U-15s in 2017, including at the CONCACAF U-15 Championship, Fuentes received his first call-up to the U.S. U-17s last November for the Men’s Nike International Friendlies. He also received a call-up to the U-17s earlier this month as part of U.S. Soccer’s first-ever Men’s YNT Summit Camp.
According to TopDrawerSoccer, Fuentes is ranked as the No. 4 player in the nation, and No. 1 midfielder, for the Class of 2020. He’s also one of just five players, and the only at his position, to receive a five-star rating from the service for his graduating class.
He becomes the fifth Homegrown Player signing in San Jose’s history and third this offseason, following U.S. U-20 goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski and U.S. U-18 defender Jacob Akanyirige.
Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) – Earthquakes sign 15-year-old M Gilbert Fuentes to Homegrown Player contract.
Weight: 140 lbs.
Born: Feb. 21, 2002
Hometown: Tracy, Calif.
Last Club: Quakes Academy U-19
Roster Designation: Domestic (Homegrown)