CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA have signed highly touted academy product Marco Delgado to a Homegrown contract, the club announced on Monday.
The 16-year-old midfielder – who prefers to go by “Marky” – signed the deal alongside several family members on Monday, just hours after going 45 minutes for Chivas USA in a 4-2 defeat of the LA Galaxy in Reserve League action. Delgado hails from Glendora, Calif., about 40 miles northeast of The Home Depot Center.
“He’s a great signing for us,” Chivas USA general manager Jose Domene told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s a great player, he still has a lot to learn, but we’re happy to have him in.”
A talented midfielder who can play in a central attacking role as well as on the right wing, Delgado is the second young signing for the Rojiblancos this season after the club added another local product, midfielder Marvin Iraheta, during the offseason. The two youngsters were former teammates with Cosmos Academy West and joined after a merger between the Cosmos and Chivas last season.
Fitting the mold of Chivas; workmanlike style, Delgado is a tenacious attacker who is able to create opportunities with slick passing ability. He began his transition from the youth ranks to the first team last season by making a pair of appearances in Reserve League games against Vancouver and Portland. Since the preseason, Delgado has become a regular fixture on the training ground, holding his own against the likes of Oswaldo Minda and Nick LaBrocca.
“The kid has ability,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “He’s got good feet, good ideas and he’s grown and more comfortable every time I see him in with the first team and in trainings and in games.”
Delgado’s first professional contract caps off a whirlwind week for the teenager. He recently returned from US Under-18 national teal camp, where he trained alongside fellow Chivas USA Academy product Ben Spencer. During the camp, Delgado impressed head coach Javier Perez and tallied a goal in the youngsters’ scrimmage against USL PRO side LA Blues.
With the 16-year-old likely still in need of experience before he cracks the first team, Domene believes Delgado’s international experience will only help the club.
“Hopefully he can make [Chivas’] first team and get some MLS games as well,” said Domene. “Again, this is a long process; he’s still young and he’s got a lot to learn, but the best way to learn is to compete.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.