During the last year, the New York Cosmos have made headlines on three separate occasions by signing some of the top young talent available in the United States. Now, one of their North American Soccer League rivals has followed suit, bringing in a US youth international of their own.
On Monday, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers announced that they had reached an agreement to sign 19-year old Luis Felipe Fernandes, who is a member of the US U20 side. Unlike the trio of players that the Cosmos signed, however, this is not the first professional deal for the 19-year old midfielder, who has been playing professionally in Brazil for Cruzeiro.
While the two U17 stars remaining under contract with the Cosmos will likely feature regularly for Cosmos B before earning a shot in the NASL, Fernandes seems likely to be a big part of the Strikers first team from day one. Head Coach Caio Zanardi had the following to say about his latest signing:
"Luis is a gifted young player that we have been tracking for a while now. We are confident that in our system he can develop his potential and blossom into a wonderful player for our team."
While the circumstances of the signings aren't the same as New York's, it's nice to see other NASL clubs signing some of the best young US-born talent available. Hopefully, Fernandes impresses, and eventually earns some caps with the senior squad.