TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

Austin FC have signed free agent attacker McKinze Gaines, the club announced Friday. Gaines has inked a deal through 2022 with club options for two further seasons.

Gaines, 23, had been with German club Hanover 96 until this summer. The 23-year-old winger originally went to Europe to join Wolfsburg's U-19 side in 2016 before moving to Darmstadt 98 a year later. He didn't find regular playing time at any of his stops, though made 24 appearances (12 starts) for SG Sonnenhof Grobapach in the German third tier in 2019-20.

“We would like to welcome our first native Austinite to the first team,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club statement. “McKinze is a young player who has been training with our first team and has earned an opportunity to contribute his international experience and add depth to our roster.”

The Austin native was a regular with US youth national teams and can play anywhere across the frontline. Gaines had previously been on trial with ATX.

“I’m happy to be back in the city where it all started and pleased to represent my hometown doing what I love the most,” Gaines said. “I’ve come back to Austin to work hard and elevate our playing style. I look forward to making an impact in our ongoing season.”

Gaines is the latest attacking addition for the expansion club. Earlier this month they acquired Moussa Djitte, signed to a U-22 Initiative deal, before acquiring Sebastian Driussi as a Designated Player this week.

Austin are next in action on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

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