FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England forward Diego Fagundez could have played out the remainder of his original deal with the Revolution over the next couple of years and then weighed options to try his luck overseas.
Instead of pursuing those avenues, though, Fagundez decided he would rather continue his career in MLS. The 18-year-old signed a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday to remain with the Revs for the foreseeable future. In accordance with league policy, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am happy,” Fagundez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Everyone treats me like a professional, not like a kid. When you come to the game, everyone says hi to you. It's something nice. Once you go to a new place, you need to start all over. Right now, I just want to develop with the team, get better and help the team.”
The Leominster, Mass. native's desire to remain with the club sparked extension talks earlier this week even though he still had this year and next year to run on his current contract. Fagundez's agent flew up from Uruguay to hold two days of discussions with Revolution general manager Michael Burns to sort out the terms for a new deal.
The parties took most of Monday and Tuesday to sort out the particulars, but the framework of a deal soon emerged to prolong Fagundez's stay with New England for the next few years.
“We're excited that Diego wanted to engage in discussions to remain in New England,” Burns said. “We know he's only 18, but we feel that he has the potential and the ability to become a regular first-team player for us. And that's what we're hoping for and what he's hoping for. The fact that he wanted to remain here – and it made a lot of sense for us – makes it one of those situations where it truly made sense for both sides.”
By reaching this agreement now, Fagundez and the Revs can shift their focus to his long-term future. Revolution coach Jay Heaps said the fresh pact will allow the club to cultivate Fagundez's talents over several years as he continues to push for regular playing time with the first team.
“It's a great day for the organization because Diego has shown that he has the ability and the talent and everything,” Heaps said. “Now, what is really good from my perspective, we have him for a little bit longer and we can really develop him. I think he has unbelievable instincts. He's someone we're going to lean on as his career continues to develop.”