Orlando City SC has signed US U-18 national team defender Tyler Turner to both a USL PRO contract for the upcoming season and a 2015 MLS contract, the team announced Thursday, pending USSF approval.
The 17-year-old IMG Academy product, who has been with Orlando since the start of preseason camp, becomes Lions youngest player. OCSC are set to take their MLS bows in 2015.
“We liked what we saw from him, not only when he was with the national team but also throughout the preseason with us,” head coach Adrian Heath said in a release. “One of the things that we noticed straight away was how comfortable he is on the ball. For our defenders, that’s almost a required trait so we’re delighted to have him with us.”
Turner saw limited action in preseason in friendlies against the Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact, earning him starts in all three of Orlando’s Disney Pro Soccer Classic games, against the Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC and Columbus Crew.
“Considering the circumstances, I thought Tyler did very well against the MLS clubs,” Heath said. “He can certainly make a living out of football, as long as he continues to do the right things and dedicate himself to the game.”
The Meriden, Conn., native helped guide the U-17 national team to a championship at the 2011 Nike Friendlies, scoring against Turkey and Brazil. And after a successful stint as the captain of the U-17 team, Turner was recently called up to the U-18s.
Earlier this month, he joined the U-18s in the Canary Islands for the Copa del Atlantico and played against Spain, Argentina and the Canary Islands.
“We believe in his future as a footballer,” Heath continued. “Tyler signing a year before we enter MLS in 2015 will allow him to get acclimated to our system and get a grasp of what it takes to be a professional.”