Watford’s Cucho Hernandez to be Transferred to MLS’ Columbus Crew

Cucho Hernandez is headed to the U.S.

The Columbus Crew has reached an agreement for the transfer of the 23-year-old Colombian professional footballer from Watford, according to ESPN.

Cucho HernandezColumbus will pay a club-record fee of just more than $10 million, the source said, confirming multiple reports.

Hernandez will initially occupy a Young Designated Player slot for the Crew and be under contract through the 2025 season.

In 25 Premier League appearances during his lone season in England, Hernandez scored five goals and registered two assists. Watford was relegated to the English Championship after finishing in 19th place last season.

Prior to his time at Watford, Hernandez played three seasons on loan in Spain’s LaLiga: one with Huesca after helping the club earn promotion, then a season with each Mallorca (2019-20) and Getafe (2020-21). He scored 11 goals over those three seasons after a 17-goal campaign in Spain’s second division.

Hernandez has two appearances with the Colombian national team, including the most recent in a friendly against Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

He is expected to be available to play for Columbus, which traded U.S. international Gyasi Zardes to the Colorado Rapids earlier this season, after the Major League Soccer transfer window opens July 7.

The Crew (4-5-4, 16 points) are in 11th place in MLS’ Eastern Conference and have exceeded two goals scored just three times in 2022 and only once since March 12.

Maximo Carrizo Becomes Youngest Player Signing in Major League Soccer History

Maximo Carrizo is making Major League Soccer history…

The 14-year-old Argentine Americam soccer player has signed a homegrown contract with New York City FC, becoming the MLS’ youngest player signing.

Maximo Carrizo It’s the second time in two months that the league has a new record youngest player signing.

Carrizo, who turned 14 on Monday, has broken the record set in January when Axel Kei (14 years, 15 days) signed with Real Salt Lake.

Prior to Kei’s signing with RSL, the previous record had been held by Freddy Adu since 2004.

A midfielder, Carrizo isn’t expected to play a role with the reigning MLS Cup champions’ first team, however he could factor into the club’s plans for NYCFC II, which begins play in the newly formed MLS NEXT Pro League when it begins in March.

“It’s an honor for me and my family to make MLS history by becoming the League’s youngest player to sign a First Team contract,” Carrizo said in a statement. “This is an incredible Club with amazing people, I’d like to thank everyone at NYCFC for believing in me and helping me take the next step in my career. I know I’m young and I have a lot to improve, but I am ready for the challenge and will work hard every day to show everyone what I am capable of.”

He is the second 14-year-old NYCFC has signed to a first-team contract in recent months, joining Christian McFarlane, who signed in September. Carrizo’s contract runs through the 2027 season and includes a team option for 2028.

D.C. United’s Kevin Paredes Signs with Bundesliga Club Wolfsburg

Kevin Paredes is heading to Germany…

Wolfsburg has signed the 18-year-old Dominican American professional soccer player from D.C. United for what the Major League Soccer team said was a $7.35 million transfer fee.

Kevin Paredes

The German club said Paredes signed a contract until the end of the 2025-26 season.

D.C. said the transfer fee is its record high for a sale. The deal includes additional money contingent on performance and a percentage of any future transfer fees.

“Despite his age he’s already gained some experience at first-team level, and as well as the left wing he can also play in the center,” Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schafer said. “In addition, he brings pace and dynamism, he’s very agile and nimble on the ball, covers a lot of ground on the pitch and has a really good mentality.”

Paredes came through the D.C. youth academy before making his professional debut as a 16-year-old for Loudoun United, the Washington-based club’s reserve team, in 2019.

The Virginia-born player returned to D.C. in 2020 and went on to make 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring three goals and setting up two more.

“Kevin’s rapid rise from our academy to a first-team starter is a testament to his desire, talent, and commitment,” D.C. president of soccer operations Dave Kasper said in a statement.

 

Paredes has two goals in five appearances for the United States under-16 team. He attended senior national team camp last month but injured his left ankle and left before the exhibition against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

https://twitter.com/VfLWolfsburg_EN/status/1487117451871596549

Portland Timbers Transfer MLS Legend Diego Valeri to Argentina’s Lanús

Diego Valeri is heading home…

The 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Portland Timbers midfielder  is heading home to Argentina.

Diego Valeri

The Portland Timbers have announced an agreement with Lanus for the transfer of the 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and former Major League Soccer (MLS) MVP.

Lanus plays in Argentina’s top division.

A nine-year veteran of the Timbers, Valeri scored 100 goals and 104 assists in 306 matches across all competitions.

He’s the team regular season leader for both goals (86) and assists (91). Valeri is just the third player in MLS history to reach 80 goals and 80 assists in regular-season play. He was named the MLS Cup‘s Most Valuable Player in 2015 when the Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew for the league championship.

In 2017, he was honored as the league MVP after scoring 21 goals with 11 assists. He was a five-time MLS All-Star and in 2020 was named one of the league’s 25 greatest players.

“I do not believe there has been a more impactful Designated Player signing in the history of MLS than Diego Valeri,” Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. “He changed what clubs looked for in a DP — not a brand to put fans in the seats and sell sponsorships, but a rising European level talent who chose to make America his home and legacy.”

Valeri also became a beloved member of the Portland community, known for painting playrooms for foster children and jumping into pickup futsal games. Valeri and his family were ardent supporters of the Portland Thorns, the National Women’s Soccer League team. Valeri is a product of the Lanus academy, which he joined at age 9. He went on to play 158 matches with the senior team from 2003-13.

In addition to the transfer, the Timbers and Lanus agreed to a testimonial match in Portland next year, during which Valeri will play a half for each team. Details were not yet announced.

Upon his retirement, Valeri will become an ambassador for the Timbers.

Carlos Ferreira ThisClose to Deal with Houston Dynamo

Things are turning out dynamo-ite for Carlos Ferreira

The Houston Dynamo are closing in on a deal for the 22-year-old Paraguayan football player, a Paraguay youth international and Libertad player, according to ESPN.

Carlos FerreiraESPN sources claim Ferreira is expected to fly to Houston in the next few days to finalize the deal, with the agreed transfer fee around $6 million.

If the deal is completed, Ferreira will join a Houston side in need of attacking help, with Dynamo’s 36 goals in 2021 tied for the second-worst mark in Major League Soccer.

Ferreira began his professional career in his native Paraguay with Olimpia in 2016. He subsequently was loaned to Paraguayan second tier side Independiente FBC, where he scored 13 goals in 19 matches in 2018.

Later that year he moved to Liga MX side Morelia — now Mazatlan — where he went on to score 16 goals in 52 league and cup appearances.

In 2020, Ferreira was loaned to Libertad in his home country, where he has scored 34 goals in 78 league and cup appearances.

At international level, Ferreira has represented Paraguay at under-17, under-20 and under-23 level, but has yet to make an appearance with the senior team.

FC Dallas Star Ricardo Pepi Completes $20 Million Move to FC Augsburg

It’s official… Ricardo Pepi is headed to Alemania

The 18-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, a forward for FC Dallas and the United States international team, has completed a move to Bundesliga side FC Augsburg.

Ricardo Pepi ESPN previously reported that Pepi was set to move to Augsburg in a deal worth $20 million plus add-ons, the most for a homegrown player in Major League Soccer (MLS) history.

Sources said Dallas will also receive a 10% sell-on percentage for any future moves.

“Moving to Europe after the conclusion of the MLS season was my dream,” Pepi said in a statement Monday. “I believe FC Augsburg and the Bundesliga will prove the perfect settings for me to gain match practice at the top level as a youngster.

“The efforts the FCA club officials put in to sign me were really impressive. As a result, I felt right away that FCA was the right club for me. I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and I want to integrate into the team as quickly as possible. I can hardly wait to get going!”

Pepi enjoyed a remarkable year in 2021 that resulted in his first call-up to the U.S. national team in September. He recorded a goal and two assists in his international debut against Honduras and now has three goals in seven appearances for his country.

Pepi scored 13 goals in 31 league appearances this season for Dallas.

FC Augsburg are embroiled in a relegation battle in Germany’s top flight, sitting in 15th place on 18 points after 17 games.

“We are delighted that Ricardo has decided to join Augsburg despite interest from a number of top clubs around the world,” Augsburg executive Stefan Reuter said.

“We were able to provide him with a clear sporting plan for his future development that convinced him to come here. We are certain that he will continue to improve here in Augsburg and that we’ll have a lot of fun together over the coming years.”

FC Dallas Reportedly Transferring Ricardo Pepi to Augsburg for Club-Record Fee

Ricardo Pepi is thisclose to a lucrative deal to play in Germany…

The 18-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, an FC Dallas and United States international forward, is close to finalizing a deal with Bundesliga side FC Augsburg, according to ESPN.

Ricardo Pepi

The sources said that if the deal is completed, the transfer fee would be in the neighborhood of $20 million plus add-ons, with a 10% sell-on percentage going to Dallas in any future moves.

The base transfer fee would be the highest for a homegrown player in Major League Soccer history.

Alphonso Davies‘ move from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Bayern Munich was in excess of that number, but that included incentives.

Pepi’s arrival in Augsburg would see him bolster an attack in desperate need of goals. Augsburg is in 15th place, just above the relegation zone. Its haul of 17 goals in 17 games is tied for the fourth-worst mark in the Bundesliga as it headed into the winter break.

Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg were thought to be the frontrunners to land Pepi, but now it appears that Augsburg have won the race to sign the American.

Pepi has seen his reputation and form skyrocket in the last 12 months. He scored 13 goals in 31 league appearances this season for Dallas. That resulted in a call-up to the U.S. men’s team where he scored three goals — all in World Cup qualifiers — in seven appearances.

All told, Pepi has scored 16 goals in 57 league and playoff appearances for Dallas.

Maximiliano Urruti Signs with Austin FC

Maximiliano Urruti is heading to Austin…

The 30-year-old Argentine professional footballer has signed with Austin FC.

Maximiliano Urruti “Maxi is a winner with a proven history of scoring goals and creating chances,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club statement. “He’ll help us become more dynamic in the attacking third and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to Austin.”

Urruti was traded to the Houston Dynamo from the Montreal Impact in January 2021, where he ended the season with 7 goals and 4 assists in 30 appearances as the Dynamo finished bottom of the Western Conference, failing to qualify for the playoffs.

“I’m very excited for these new beginnings with Austin FC,” said Urruti. “I’m happy to wear these colors and can’t wait to celebrate with all the fans at Q2 Stadium. Vamos Verde y Negro!”

A former FC Dallas player from 2016-18, Urruti is set to become the first player to make appearances for all three Texas clubs in Major League Soccer.

He has also played for Newell’s Old Boys, Toronto FC and Portland Timbers.

U.S. Soccer Gives Young Player Award to FC Dallas’ Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi is celebrating a special honor…

The 18-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, a striker for Major League Soccer club FC Dallas, has received U.S. Soccer’s young player award.

Ricardo PepiPepi had a dynamic debut with the United States national team against Honduras in September, posting a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory.

He then scored two goals against Jamaica in October, cementing his status as one of the most promising young talents playing in the U.S. system.

The FC Dallas forward and El Paso native chose to represent the U.S. over his parents’ native Mexico in August, shortly after he was selected for his first MLS All-Star Game.

Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic was named the governing body’s male player of the year, while U.S. Soccer named Washington Spirit‘s Trinity Rodman as young female player of the year and Portland Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan took the senior award.

Atlanta United Trade Franco Escobar to Los Angeles FC (LAFC)

Franco Escobar is headed west…

The 26-year-old Argentine professional footballer has been traded by Atlanta United to Los Angeles FC (LAFC) in exchange for $250,000 in General Allocation Money for the 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, with the possibility of another $350,000 in future revenue, plus a percentage of any future transfer fee should LAFC sell the defender to a team outside the league.

Franco Escobar

Escobar spent the last season on loan with Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. The MLS half-day trade window opened Sunday. Teams can resume trading after Tuesday’s expansion draft.

Escobar joined Atlanta United before the 2018 season after being procured from Newell’s for less than $600,000. He made 63 appearances in regular season games and eight in the playoffs for the Five Stripes.

He scored five goals, including three in the playoffs, with six assists. He started and helped the club win the MLS Cup in 2018, scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win, and Campeones Cup and came on as a late sub in the U.S. Open Cup in 2019.

Escobar was versatile, playing as a centerback, right wingback or fullback for managers Gerardo Martino, Frank de Boer and Stephen Glass. Escobar also had trouble controlling his energy, which was frequently directed at referees. He received 26 yellow cards and one red card. Because of suspensions and injuries, he never appeared in more than 25 games in a season.

Trading Escobar on Sunday means the club will not have to protect him with one of its 12 available slots in the expansion draft. It may also be considered a good piece of business because had they not protected Escobar, and Charlotte selected him, Atlanta United would have received just $50,000 in General Allocation Money.

The trade also frees a spot on Atlanta United’s senior roster. Escobar didn’t occupy an International slot. He had a guaranteed salary of $450,000 last season, according to the MLSPA salary guide. With the trade, Atlanta United has 27 players on a 30-man roster.