LAFC make first three Homegrown signings in club's history

Tony Leone - LAFC - Academy


LAFC have signed three players from their academy, the club announced Wednesday.

Right back Erik Dueñas, forward Christian Torres and center back Tony Leone (above) are the first to make the leap from the LAFC academy to its first team.

Torres traveled with the team to Orlando and is available for selection at the MLS is Back Tournament.

LAFC make first three Homegrown signings in club's history - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/Duenas.png?FqVs7PMpDOVKjQPQQF9yQpuP26x8z0n0

Dueñas has the potential to be a top right back | Courtesy of LAFC

“Today marks a very special day for our entire organization, the LAFC Academy, the three players and their families,” LAFC EVP and GMJohn Thorrington said in a statement. “Erik, Tony and Christian have shown great development and have undoubtedly earned this opportunity. We look forward to helping them continue their progression at the MLS level.”

Dueñas is one of the original members of LAFC’s first U-12 squad in 2016 and has competed in a pair of Generation adidas Cup tournaments. The El Monte, Calif. native also represented the Academy at the U-14, U-15 and U-16/17 levels, including 16 appearances during the 2019-20 season. In four seasons with LAFC, Dueñas tallied five goals in 104 matches across all competitions.

Torres has already made history, becoming the first academy player to score for the first team, finding the back of the net in a 3-1 preseason win over Toronto FC.

In two years with the academy, Torres notched 30 goals in 44 matches, including three goals during the Playoffs and Championships to capture the 2018-19 Golden Boot. Internationally, Torres represented the US youth national teams at the Concacaf U-15 Boys' Championship last August.

He previously competed for the LA Galaxy academy before making the jump to LAFC in the 2018-19 season.

Leone, who has competed for both the US and Mexico on the youth levels, was the 2018-19 USSDA Golden Ball winner. He arrived at LAFC ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. In his first year, Leone tallied eight goals in 23 matches (all starts) for the U-14 side, A year later, Leone was named the best U-15 player during the Playoffs and Championships and guided the U-15s to a 22-1-1 overall record.

“On behalf of the entire LAFC academy, we would like to congratulate Tony, Christian and Erik on signing their first professional contracts,” LAFC academy director Todd Saldaña said. “All three players have worked incredibly hard to reach this moment, and we are extremely excited to see them take the next step in their careers. Huge credit to ownership, as well as our soccer operations and academy staffs for their dedication to helping these young player have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”