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FC Cincinnati have signed homegrown goalkeeper Paul Walters through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027, the club announced Friday.

The 18-year-old becomes FCC's sixth academy player to sign a first-team deal and the third this offseason, following midfielders Stiven Jimenez and Malik Pinto

“We are excited to sign Paul as we continue to focus on developing young talents,” Cincy general manager Chris Albright said in a press release.

“From his time with our Academy, FC Cincinnati 2, and at Northwestern, he’s shown to be a smart, athletic goalkeeper with great potential. I’d like to welcome him back to Cincinnati as he begins his professional career.”

An original academy member from Cincy's inaugural 2019 season, Walters played with their U-17 and U-19 teams before embarking on his collegiate career with Northwestern. In one season with the Wildcats, the Ohio native made four starts and registered a personal-best six saves against Northern Illinois.

Walters also made an appearance with the club's MLS NEXT Pro affiliate (FC Cincinnati 2) last season, registering five saves in a 5-3 win over Orlando City B.

Walters is Cincy's second-ever homegrown goalkeeper signing after the club added Beckham Sunderland in October 2020. Sunderland, who didn't play at the MLS level, has since left the club.

Coming off their best MLS season to date, which included a trip to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Cincinnati kick off their 2023 campaign on Feb. 25 when hosting Houston Dynamo FC (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).